The Pune Metro Rail Project has finally seen the light of day, with the central government inaugurating two sections of the project in March 2022. The project has faced several hurdles since the beginning. The foundation stone was laid in December 2016. However, work commenced only in May 2017. Later, Covid-induced restrictions led to a massive exodus of workers and issues in land acquisition, thereby delaying the work.
Currently, the 7 km long Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC)-Phugewadi and the 5 km long Vanaz-Garware stretches of the Pune Metro are operational. Each stretch has five stations. Every day, the metro rail undertakes 27 rides along each direction of either stretch, with half-hour gaps between rides.
The Pune Metro Rail Project consists of two corridors, the North-South Corridor (Purple Line) and the East-West Corridor (Aqua Line), with a total length of 33.1 km across 30 stations. The length of the elevated section is 27.1 km and the length of the underground section is 6 km. There are two maintenance depots – one each at Range Hills and Vanaz. The project involves an investment of Rs 114.2 billion. The target is to complete 33.1 km of Phase I by the end of December 2022.
India’s first aluminium metro train, manufactured by Titagarh Wagons at its West Bengal plant for the Pune Metro Rail Project, was launched in March 2022. Titagarh Wagons was awarded the order for designing, manufacturing and supplying 102 metro coaches for the Pune Metro project in 2019. Under the terms of the contract, the company will supply three trains from its plant in Italy and the remaining 31 trains from its Indian facilities. The total contract for 34 trains with three coaches each is valued at nearly Rs 11 billion and is scheduled for execution by 2022-23. The first set of coaches for the Pune Metro arrived from Italy in October 2021.
Aluminium-body coaches have a longer life and require low maintenance. These coaches contain over 70 per cent indigenous components. They have been designed for a speed of 95 km per hour. Aluminium coaches, being lighter, are more energy efficient. Moreover, they can regenerate up to 30 per cent of energy.
The Pune Metro has made provisions for the installation of 11.19 MW of peak solar power generation on the rooftops of elevated stations and depots, right from their inception. The energy generated will be used in stations and in traction power for running trains. The solar panels being installed will be grid connected. The project will be executed under the renewable energy service company model, with no capex, by the Maharashtra Metro Rail Corporation (Maha Metro). This will result in energy cost savings of Rs 200 million per annum, and reduction in carbon dioxide gas emissions by approximately 25,000 tonnes.
National Common Mobility Card
Maha Metro has designed an open loop chip-based contactless smart card in compliance with the National Common Mobility Card programme. This card can be used for transit as well as non-transit transactions. It features both card- and unified payments interface-based payment options, and is compatible with mobile and web-based transactions.
In March 2020, a consortium consisting of HDFC Bank Limited, Asis Elektronik ve Bilisim Sistemleri A.S., and Paycraft Solutions Private Limited was issued a letter of acceptance for implementing the automated fare collection system at 29 stations of the Pune Metro Project, Phase I.
New Austrian tunnelling method
The underground section of the Pune Metro is being constructed using cutting-edge technology in the form of the New Austrian tunnelling method (NATM). The Mandai and Budhwarpeth metro stations have been designed using this technology due to the scarcity of space for construction. Moreover, due to the use of the NATM, the need for resettlement and rehabilitation of about 200 residents was avoided.
Digital project management platform
A digital project management platform, based on five-dimensional building information modelling (5D-BIM), has been developed with integrated enterprise resource planning, bettering the international best practices in the field of integrating multiple software on a single platform. Maha Metro is implementing this digital project management platform for the Pune Metro project. This will enable real-time, cost-effective solutions for time and quality management and project monitoring.
Maha Metro signed an MoU with the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in January 2021 for the installation of anaerobic biodigester technology for 100 per cent wastewater management. This will result in zero discharge into the municipal sewerage system for all stations of the Pune Metro. The DRDO’s biodigester is an indigenous, green and cost-effective technology, with the rare distinction of having one of the largest numbers of DRDO licensees. Provisions have been made at all station rooftops, viaducts and depot building rooftops to collect run-off for 100 per cent rainwater harvesting. The collected water will be filtered through the biodigestores. The system is fully sustainable, totally eco-friendly and helps in conserving water.
The stations of the Pune Metro have been planned with complete multimodal integration through provisioning of adequate parking spaces at stations, as well as pick-up and drop-off points. The modal share of public transport is expected to grow from the current 12 per cent to 30 per cent. Hence, the metro rail will substantially reduce pollution by reducing the number of personal vehicles on city roads. The multimodal integration initiative taken by Maha Metro by means of non-motorised transport will complement this process. This will help in reducing the carbon footprint by approximately 0.1 million tonne per year. The Pune Metro is also building multimodal integration hubs at Swargate Metro Station and Civil Court Metro Station so that incoming interstate and intrastate buses need not enter the city. The stations will be wellequipped with electric vehicle charging provisions.
All stations, depots and administrative buildings of the Pune Metro have been designed as platinum-rated Indian Green Building Council buildings. These buildings can have tremendous benefits, both tangible and intangible. The most tangible benefits are reductions in water and energy consumption right from day one of occupancy.
In May 2021, the Maharashtra cabinet approved the transfer of 4.75 hectares of land in Balewadi to the Hinjewadi-Shivajinagar metro rail project. Land acquisition for the project is almost complete. The project involves the development of a 23.3 km long metro rail system with 23 stations, connecting the Hinjewadi IT Park to Shivajinagar in Pune. It is being implemented on a design-build-finance-operate-transfer basis under the public-private partnership model as Corridor 3 of the proposed Pune Metro. The concessionaire contract for the project has been awarded to a Tata-Siemens joint venture. Work on the project began in January 2022.
According to officials, work on the 4.5 km stretch from Phugewadi to Range Hills on the PCMC to Swargate route is nearing completion. Maha Metro will subsequently complete the 2.46 km long underground stretch from Range Hills to Shivajinagar Court in June 2022. Moreover, the 3.6 km long underground stretch from Shivajinagar to Swargate, the 2.4 km long Vanaz to Ramwadi stretch route, from Garware College to Shivajinagar Court, and a further extension of 4 km till Bund Garden will be completed soon, while the last stretch of 4.3 km from Bund Garden to Ramwadi will be completed by the end of August 2022. However, the opening of the new stretches is dependent on clearance from various railway authorities inspecting the routes and stations.
Further, Maha Metro is expecting more responsibility with the extension of the metro rail network from PCMC to Nigdi and from Swargate to Katraj on the PCMC to Swargate route. Similarly, work on extending the metro route from Ramwadi to Wagholi and from Vanaz to Chandni Chowk will start in the coming months. The Pune Metro has also begun the process of preparing detailed project reports for routes from Swargate to Sinahagad Road, Swargate to Hadapsar, Hadapsar to Kharadi, and Nal Stop to Warje. In addition, a proposal to extend the metro till Nigdi, which is on the outskirts of Pimpri-Chinchwad, has been sent to the centre by Maha Metro. It will require Rs 9.5 billion to extend the metro beyond Pimpri and up to Nigdi.
The way forward
Going forward, there are plans to develop commercial establishments at the depots and stations of the Pune Metro to generate maximum non-fare revenue in order to sustain the expenditures of the mass public transport facility. The Pune Metro is planning to generate revenue from advertising at metro rail stations and in coaches, development of properties, transit-oriented development fees, cess, and several other sources.