Lucknow Metro: Rail that became a reality in record time

A product of perfect planning and execution, unwavering support from different government departments played crucial role in Metro meeting deadline in Lucknow.

lucknow Updated: Sep 04, 2017 15:05 IST
Anupam Srivastava
Anupam Srivastava
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
Lucknoe Metro,LMRC,Launch
No wonder the feat — construction of 8.9-km metro track in 14 months — drew acclaim from one and all.(Subhankar Chakraborty/HT PHOTO)

The rollout of Metro rail service is set to be a milestone for Lucknow. But, what will also go down in history is the fact that gigantic project became a reality in record time.

Insisting that perfect planning and the execution helped Team Metro complete the project within deadline, officials claimed no other project in Lucknow has ever been completed before the deadline.

No wonder the feat — construction of 8.9-km metro track in 14 months — drew acclaim from one and all.

“It could not have been possible without unwavering support from the then state and central government,” said an official while revealing that as many as 250 clearances from different departments of state and central governments had to be taken in the process.

It is significant, as delay in one clearance would have meant the project losing months.

MAJOR CHALLENGES

While it was in August 2014 that the civil contract was finalized, the work began in September.

Before actually starting the work, the Lucknow Metro Rail Corporation (LMRC) did a lot of public interaction.

“It was to record the opinion of the people so that the project can be done according to their wishes. It was because of this feedback that people supported Metro at every step despite the fact that they themselves faced a number of hardships,” said MD LMRC Kumar Keshav.

“Utility identification was a big issue. The entire city had already been utilised for the road purpose and there were narrow footpaths and congested buildings. The LMRC had the challenge of widening some of the footpaths, removing some of the electrical poles, electrical cables and some telecoms and water pipelines from one place to another. Besides, encroachment on roads was a big problem,” he said.

Since the city had never seen this type of work being done on busy roads, the LMRC had to face big challenge in terms of taking people and small utility agencies together.

The fact that the utilities were scattered and some of the designs and drawings of power cables and pipelines were missing, it became all the more difficult to pinpoint their presence at the desired spot.

“We took the help of utility agencies and are thankful to them as they supported us despite LMRC being new to them. Gradually, people developed their confidence in us and we shifted the utility zone on their behalf,” said Keshav.

Inside view of Metro coach. (HT Photo)

ADMINISTRATIVE BACKING

With coordination in place and priorities defined, the delays were controlled and contractors were given a clear zone to work within a strict time-frame.

“All the issues that cropped up were taken care of and work was executed meticulously with the help of administrative backing from the government,” said Keshav.

PERFECT EXECUTION

LMRC maintained proper barricades; deployed their own marshals and trained them with the help of local police to control traffic.

Weekly monitoring of activities was being done and the state government was kept updated all the time. Meticulous planning and implementation was controlled at every level.

TIME FRAME FOR EVERY ACTIVITY

Strict time frame was a challenge but close monitoring ensured that things kept moving. Baseline time diagram was made in the beginning.

While December 26, 2016 was the date for commencing the trials, it was later advanced to December 1.

“We are thankful to all the contracting agencies who believed in us. It was a collective effort,” said Keshav.

INFRASTRUCTURE CHALLENGE

In a big city, infrastructure capabilities like big machinery, capable contractors, good vendors, materials etc are available for construction but in an upcoming metro city like Lucknow, these technologies were not available. Most of the things LMRC started working with were outsourced from outside the city.

Read more: Lucknow Metro stations decked up for tomorrow’s launch

LAND REQUIREMENT

As far as the land requirement and land acquisition was concerned, the LMRC tried to reduce the private land requirement to the bare minimum. The government issued notification and orders for the LMRC for direct negotiation with private parties, which was not required in most of the cases.

A big challenge faced by the LMRC was of Avadh Rotary span where a statue of Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar was installed and that rotary was to be narrowed. This crossing was not a simple crossing as it would have resulted in political problem.

But this was handled properly by administration with the help of state government. Not only that, all the political parties supported Lucknow Metro as it will serve all the residents.

However, the LMRC decided not to disturb the Avadh rotary much and make a span over the rotary area; that’s why a span of over 200 meters was constructed. Today it looks beautiful as its illumination is of special quality.

FUNDS NEVER A PROBLEM

Besides that, funds were never the problem as state and centre ensured that all the loans from bank were released on time and aid from them kept coming on time.

First Published: Sep 04, 2017 15:05 IST