In Conversation | India's Metro Man Speaks To G Plus Exclusively On Guwahati Metro
Considered a treasure trove of information on the Metro and railways, Elattuvalapil Sreedharan, known as the Metro Man, credited with designing and implementing the swiftest metro network in the country in Delhi, talks exclusively to G Plus on the possibilities of Guwahati Metro.
At the age of 88, he is in charge of the 24-km Kochi Metro. He is consultant to the UP government for the Lucknow, Kanpur and Meerut metros. Likewise, he is the consultant to the J&K government for the light metros in Jammu and Srinagar.
Is the Delhi Metro model a feasible idea for a city like Guwahati which has a population of around 20 lakhs?
If the population of Guwahati has reached 20 lakhs, it is the right time to plan for a Metro system. Getting approval for the Metro and for its implementation, at least 5 to 6 years are required. But, Metros are highly capital intensive and cannot be financially justified. It can only be justified based on social benefits.
Being an active seismic zone, are underground Metro routes possible?
The Metro need not be underground always. Whether underground or overhead, Metros can be designed to resist seismic intensity. Japan is situated in seismic zone but all big cities of Japan have Metros.
Are there any cost effective alternatives to Metro Rail available for cities like Guwahati where passenger traffic may not be as high as Delhi?
It is true Metro Rail is a very costly affair. Conventionally it costs Rs 250 crores per km for elevated corridor and Rs 450 crores for underground network. Cheaper options like Bus Rapid Transit, Light Rapid Transit, and tramways have lower passenger capacities. Roads would have to be widened for them and this is equally expensive. Most Metros make the mistake of fixing high fares for generating quick revenue. Metro is a social service and should not be guided by business considerations alone. The Metro network must cover most city areas. Ridership will increase only if Metro stations are within half a kilometre of commuter destinations.
Can Sky Bus Metro a viable and alternative option in smaller cities like Guwahati?
If you are referring to buses plying on elevated viaducts as sky bus, it is certainly an option. However, transport capacity of such a system will be very low. Light Metro will be a better alternative.
According to you what should be the shortest and longest distance between two Metro stations and why?
The distance between 2 stations of a Metro system depends upon ridership from the locality. In thickly populated areas, distance between stations can be 0.8 to 1 km. Where the population density is less, the distance can be 1.5 to 2 kms.