In December 2002, with the commissioning of a measly 8.5-km-long Metro line from Shahdara to Tis Hazari in India’s capital city of Delhi, the first piece in former DMRC MD E Sreedharan’s grand dream became a reality.
Today, the Delhi Metro system spans 190 kms over seven corridors, built in two phases in a matter of a mere nine years. The network has connected two major railway stations, the biggest bus terminal and three satellite towns.
Says Anuj Dayal, spokesperson for the DMRC, “Our former MD, E Sreedharan had a dream, a vision, of bringing the Metro within a 500m radius of every home in Delhi by 2021. The commuters should be able to walk down to the nearest Metro station like they do in Tokyo, London and Shanghai. Today, every employee shares this dream.”
By 2021, another 136 kms is expected to be added to the network and the connectivity to satellite towns is expected to go deeper and further improved from what it is today.
While the construction of three new lines covering 120 kms has already begun in Phase 3, the DMRC has further proposed building another 116 kms in Phase 4, slated to conclude by 2021. Says Dayal, “In Phase 3 we’ll connect domestic airport with satellite towns, all four major universities in Delhi and NCR, bus terminals and almost all tourist spots.”
Having already attained tenth-largest-network ranking globally, the Delhi Metro is set to move up three notches to seventh place by the end of Phase 3. And assuming other metros do not correspondingly expand in scale, the metro is expected to be the second-largest network by the end of Phase 4 in 2021.
The results of the expansion are there for all to see. Travel time has come down almost to half. According to DMRC officials there are as many as 1.5 lakh fewer vehicles on the roads every day. And a report from the Central Road Research Institute shows that savings through the expansion in terms of fuel consumption, man-hours and pollution totes up to a colossal Rs. 5000 crores.