Other States

Regional transit system goes into ‘rapid’ mode

Imagine travelling from Meerut to Delhi in less than an hour while sitting in the air-conditioned comfort of a high-speed train tearing down the track at 160 kmph.

In a couple of years, the scenario could become reality with the much-hyped and much-delayed Regional Rapid Transit System (RRTS) — that will connect the Capital to satellite cities like Meerut, Panipat and Alwar — finally getting on track.

The RRTS — a brainchild of the National Capital Region Planning Board (NCRPB) — was first mooted more than four years ago to de-congest the roads and bring down pollution in Delhi, while ensuring high-speed connectivity between the Capital and its satellite towns Panipat in Haryana, Meerut in Uttar Pradesh and Alwar in Rajasthan.

The much-hyped project is finally set to leave the station with the recent constitution of the National Capital Region Transport Corporation Limited (NCRTC).

Nodal agency

The corporation, which will design, develop, implement, finance, operate and maintain the RRTS, has started its work under senior Indian Railway official Vinay Kumar Singh, who was recently appointed as managing director.

On July 11, 2013 the Union Cabinet had approved the constitution of the NCRTC with initial seed capital of Rs.100 crore for the NCR area to provide comfortable and fast transit to NCR towns and meet the high growth in transport demand.

The special-purpose vehicle was expected to function on the lines of the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) and was allowed to form subsidiary companies to implement each corridor. It is only now, however, that the corporation has hit the track.

Change in plans

While initially these corridors were expected to terminate deep inside the Capital, the Delhi government had wanted them to stop as close to the border as possible.

However, it has now been agreed that the corridors will not only enter the heart of the Capital but also integrate seamlessly with the Metro.

“The RRTS and the Metro networks will be complimentary to each other and act as feeder services for each other. Commuters coming from Panipat or Meerut can easily change over to a Delhi Metro line while those who want to go to the satellite cities can take the metro from near their house or office and reach their within an hour,” said a NCRTC official, who didn’t wish to be named.

“The seamless integration of these two networks will help in blurring NCR boundaries, and the NCR region will truly become one,” the official said.

The RRTS network will have stations near Delhi Metro stations such as New Delhi, Aerocity, Kashmere Gate etc., which will act as transport hubs with not only connectivity to the Metro network but also railway stations, the airport and Inter-State Bus Terminals.

“The RRTS is not just a transport project but also a project for sustainable urban development. It will take NCR from being unicentric with Delhi as the hub, to polycentric with similar economic development in NCR towns,” the official said.

Development

The NCRTC said that with the RRTS, places like Manesar, Neemrana or Sonepat — that are on the RRTS route — can develop into major urban centres like Gurgaon and Noida.

“Not only will this decongest Delhi, by providing people places to reside that currently seem too far away, but also bring skilled manpower from these places to the Capital. The RRTS has huge potential of providing access and opportunity to the masses,” the official said.

The detailed project reports of the three corridors: Delhi-Panipat, Delhi-Alwar and Delhi-Meerut are in an advanced stage of completion and are expected to be ready within six months.

Once these are ready, the NRCTC will tie up with funding agencies for the project. “Many agencies have already shown their interest in funding the project,” the official said.

The NCRTC expects work on the project to begin within two years if everything goes as planned.

For revenue generation, the NCRTC is thinking of implementing the concept of ‘land value capture’.

Revenue model

This revenue model, employed in the Hong Kong metro, works on the concept of acquiring and developing land near stations on the corridor.

“It is obvious that land value around such transport hubs go up and we want to capture that for the benefit of the project,” the official said. He added that by using the land near the stations for commercial development, the revenue generated can be used for further expansion of the network.

History

The story of the Regional Rapid Transit System goes back to December 2009, when a taskforce set up by the Planning Commission had proposed the setting up of the NCRTC for the implementation of a comprehensive integrated multi-modal sub-urban commuter transportation system for the National Capital Region.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed in June 2011 between the Centre, the NCRPB and the State governments of UP, Haryana, Rajasthan and NCT Delhi for the formation of the NCRTC.



The RRTS and the Delhi Metro networks will act as feeder services for each other… the seamless integration will help blur NCR boundaries, and the NCR region will truly become one... it will decongest Delhi and help develop many towns into major urban centres

NCRTC official



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Printable version | Jan 19, 2021 2:15:02 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/Regional-transit-system-goes-into-%E2%80%98rapid%E2%80%99-mode/article14496797.ece

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