Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A PPP model for a metro has never succeeded


IE

Unni Rajen Shanker: When you look back at your stint with the Konkan Railways project and now the Delhi Metro, which was a tougher assignment and why?

The tougher and more challenging is Delhi Metro. With Konkan Railways, the main challenge was the length of the line: it passes through four states, a lot of reserved forest land and the most unfriendly, undulating terrain. The other challenge was raising funds. The government had given us one-third of the cost of the project, two-thirds had to be raised from the open market. At that time, the condition of the capital market was very poor, and raising money was very difficult. We could not raise money within the country and had to go countries like England, Japan, Korea to raise funds.

For Delhi Metro, money was not a problem. The problem was that it is the capital; whatever we do is directly under the gaze of the people in power—President, Prime Minister, Lt Governor, Chief Minister—everybody is aware of what we do. People here are educated, they are exposed to what other cities, countries have achieved. So expectations are very high. Also, we have to work with the least inconvenience or disturbance to the public. The technology for the Metro is highly complex. It is four times more complicated than railway technology. And tight targets had to be met: in the second phase, the target was the Commonwealth Games

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