Getting land a problem, Metro to think vertical for Phase IV

Sourav Roy Barman

According to the DMRC chief, size of stations will be determined by passenger load, and more space will be created at depots to park trains. Archive

Marking a major design shift, the size of the stations coming up under Delhi Metro’s Phase IV project will be determined by the expected passenger load, and vertical spaces will be created in existing depots to park trains that will run on the upcoming lines.

So far, the Metro has followed a model wherein average size of the stations would be more or less similar, irrespective of the footfall. However, availability of land becoming a “serious problem” and “exorbitant” cost of acquisition were among the factors that prompted the Metro to rethink its design philosophy, Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) managing director Mangu Singh told The Sunday Express.

The Delhi Metro started operations in 2002 along a 8.5-km stretch between Shahdara and Tis Hazari stations. Since then, the DMRC network has expanded to 389 kilometres — with 285 stations across Delhi-NCR — after the completion of three phases of construction at a cost of around Rs 70,400 crore. Under Phase IV, three new lines, which will span 61.68 km and cover 46 stations, have been sanctioned so far.

Singh, who is heading DMRC since 2012, said the Metro had plans to construct new depots when the Detailed Project Report (DPR) of Phase IV was drawn up in 2014. However, according to Singh, “the situation changed drastically” in the intervening years, prompting a rethink in terms of design as well. He made the remarks while responding to a query on the major challenges that will mark Phase IV construction.

“One major issue is that of availability of land in Delhi. Acquiring big chunks of land for housing a depot has become a problem. Even in Phase III, construction of the Vinod Nagar depot was a problem as it fell in forest land and tree cutting was a problem. So it got delayed. While creating DPR for Phase IV, we had identified land for depot. But things have changed drastically between 2014 and now.

“We then decided that we will reduce the requirement of land for depot. Our experience of building an elevated deck in the Kalindi Kunj depot also came in handy. The cost of private land is so high that it is better to create space in the already acquired land. With these two experiences, we have decided that instead of going for new depots, we will augment the existing ones. If need be, we will create a second level...” Singh said.

Asked if the Phase IV stations will be as sprawling as the ones built under Phase III, such as Chirag Delhi, Greater Kailash and Punjabi Bagh, Singh said, “Phase I, II and III construction followed a model where average station sizes hardly differed irrespective of footfall. But now we have decided to distinguish based on requirement. The size of a particular station will now depend on the expected passenger load. By now, we have enough experience. There will be no compromise wherever there is a need for a bigger station, but at places where it is not required, we will go for compact stations.”

The DMRC recently awarded the first civil contract of Phase IV. The project will start with the construction of a portion of Janakpuri West - R K Ashram Marg Corridor. The other two proposed corridors are Aerocity-Tughlakabad and Maujpur-Majlis Park.