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Metro underground stretch - delayed by 6 months

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Metro RailPublic Transport

Read this today.

The commencement of work pertaining to the underground stretch of the ‘Namma Metro’ project is six and a half months behind schedule, said N Sivasailam, managing director of Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) on Tuesday.

Speaking to reporters at a felicitation function organised to celebrate Engineers Day here, the BMRCL chief said, civil engineers with expertise in cutting edge technology is not forthcoming, due to which work on the underground stretch that was to have begun six-and-a-half months ago is delayed.

“Engineers will have to be sourced from abroad. We do not have the necessary manpower in India equipped with the nature of technology required for this,” Sivasailam added


So we find this out through a function??  And if this function had not happened how would we (the public) have known.  And we are still to believe that the full network will be ready by Dec 2012?

Says something about the project management on this extremely critical project.  Some of these things can be caught early on.  



tsubba's picture


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can you comment on how to go about using this project to develop local expertise on this. one would think that when the first metros were built even the west did not have experienced engineers. how did they learn? how do we develop local expertise so that future expansions and innovations become possible?

idontspam's picture

Contract from outside

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 Let me venture an answer, We should go with the idea of contracting project managers from outside the country for the initial phase and supplement with our engineers to do most of the other work. Operators and workers can be trained. Supervisors can be from outside. I am surprised we have found out so late, wasnt this identified as a project risk from very early on?

blrsri's picture

DMRC has led the way..

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Tunneling using TBM's have been recently been done extensively in DMRC

The above link has detailed reports on tunneling and DMRC in  general.

We just need to follow them..

MTG is the group which is involved in tunneling..

more details on wiki here

We will need a similar team in BMRCL too..asap..AND its not totally true that we dont have expertise at all in India..namma kivili huaa illa!

s_yajaman's picture

TS - will hazard an answer

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Let me give you another example.  There is this wonderful underpass coming up on 15th cross JP Nagar aka ORR.  This was supposed to have been finished in Mar 2009 (started May 2008).  Come Aug 2009 it looks somewhere 40-50% done.  The engineer says that public needs to have patience!!   Apparently the contractor had to be changed, there was a problem with BWSSB and then land acquisition. 

There is such a thing as pre-work, which BBMP seems loath to do.  BWSSB pipes don't crawl about.   House compound walls don't magically increase.  Each of these issues could have been foreseen and taken care off before wholesale digging started.  But before anything else, they dug, blocked off roads, etc.  Poor project management,

Coming to BMRCL - given that we are not pioneers in this field, the biggest bottleneck would not have been technology but the availability of skilled people.  

a. Project Management skills - very important.  How does one plan the work, coordinate the work, budgeting, tracking spending, etc.  No rocket science.   The current issue is more a prokect management issue than one of TBM

b. TBM operators.  I think you don't find these too easily.

Can think of a few more - train drivers, depot managers (we will need these soon), station managers

Hire them 6-9 months before their part work starts.  Yes it seems an extra cost.  But compare that with 6 months of delay and the loss on that.

Send them to DMRC as underlings to get trained (theory and OJT) and qualified.  You need to have the finished product by the time our work starts. 

Last but not least, I personally think that IAS officers are not the best choice for these sort of projects.   Yes, they are very intelligent, etc etc.  but somehow the mindset still seems far from result and deadline oriented.  It is almost as though 6-9 months delay is par for course. 

Look at how BIAL executed the airport project.  

Does this make sense?


Drive safe.  It is not just the car maker which can recall its product.

vinod_shankar's picture

Training of engineers on at IIT-Delhi for namma metro

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From the job posting on DMRC site... engineers are being trained for BMRC at IIT-Delhi.  I saw this job posting some months ago.


Vasanth's picture

ugly frog - why was not eaten first?

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There is a time management quote, eat the ugly frog first, saying if you have a lot of food along with an ugly frog first, instead of having the feeling that ugly frog is still there in the plate!!

Sameway, BMRCL should have started the work of Tunneling ahead of other stretches, since it is the most time consuming and challenging portion. Other stretches would have got aligned at the same time by the underground stretch finishes. BMRCL saw the ugly frog and kept it for the end, now unable to eat and digest.

All 4 reaches are joined by this critical underground section which delays the entire project.


s_yajaman's picture

Critical path scheduling

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I wonder if there is a simple MS Project schedule that we can look at for the Metro Project for the Critical Path Schedule (CPS)

A lot of work can and needs to be done before even the TBM reaches the site.

a. Water and sewage pipe relocation

b.electricity lines

c. traffic planning

d. Subsoil testing (we don't want a repeat of Kadirenahalli ever).

e. many more such items

The schedule should capture each such activity.  No activity should be more than 3-4 days in duration so that we have it in sufficient detail.  The longest path of dependent activities becomes the critical path.

Once this is made, it needs to be tracked.  I have a suspicion that this is not very robust in BMRCL.  You would know within a week if something is off track and not have to wait for 6 months to know it. 

I should know something about this as I have managed quite a few product launches and there is no missing the date once a committment has been made to customers. 



Drive safe.  It is not just the car maker which can recall its product.

blrsri's picture

Underground sections planned earlier..

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 Blast from the past (Dec 2008)

* Tunnelling contract to be awarded by April 15 2009
* Work to take 36 months 
* Plugging of bore wells and open wells a major challenge 
* 450 bore wells in Metro corridors -- 77 functional, rest defunct 
* Skilled labour unavailable in country; 600-700 likely to come from Thailand, Malaysia and Taiwan 

So what happened after all this?

Naveen's picture

I Have known this a long time

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eat the ugly frog first -BMRCL should have started the work of tunneling ahead of other stretches, since it is the most time consuming and challenging portion

I could see this coming from a long time & had also posted my observations earlier. I don't see the completion of 1st phase  anytime before perhaps 2013-end since it would take three years for tunnelling alone, not to mention other remaining works after the tunnelling.

idontspam's picture

 So I guess we will have

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 So I guess we will have grand metro that takes you from Byappanahalli to MG road.. Nice toy train for 6K crores. Every metro worth its salt in this world covers at least 200+ kms. I dont believe we have planned beyond 125 kms even at the last known phase.

s_yajaman's picture

Symptom of the lack of project management skills

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I would not be as harsh as that.  We started way too late. 

"Every Metro worth its salt covers 200+ km".  I know you are quite angry but this statement won't stand up in court. 

Singapore MRT - 115 km + 25 or so more under construction

HK - 174 km + 35 km of Airport Express

Most of your worth the salt ones are in Europe - Paris, Madrid, Moscow, Berlin, London - which should be the way to go. 

If we indeed add 125 more km in Phase II for a total of 167 km, that is nothing to sneeze off.  Expect Bangalore to look like a mega construction site for pretty much the rest of the next decade.

Coming back to this topic - something is seriously wrong with the way we plan and track our projects. 


Drive safe.  It is not just the car maker which can recall its product.

Naveen's picture

In Asia Too

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Most of your worth the salt ones are in Europe

There are others - NewYotk, Seoul. New ones to join soon will be Shanghai & Beijing.

blrsri's picture

Mid-week of Oct to finalize tenders

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The delay in going underground is not just cos of lack of tech expertise..its also with the tendering process..

more here

blrsri's picture

reason for the v.soudha station..

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 BMRCL had planned two stations in the area, at BRV Grounds and MS Building, but that would have meant a line cutting across Cubbon Park, so the alignment was changed and the stations will now be at Minsk Square and Vidhana Soudha, Mr Sivasailam said.

more here

What stopped BMRCL to continue having the station at the BRV and MS building..travelling the Ambedkar veedhi way?

Why a station in front of V. Soudha?

Minsk sq and vidhanasoudha stn will be around 200-300 mts from eachother..dunno what was achieved here!!

blrsri's picture

shankha dinda bandharene..

189 users have liked. the saying goes..ppl dont listen until  the right authorities start talking !

"The DMRC has since the beginning been against the aligning of the Bangalore Metro in front of the Vidhana Soudha and the high court for three reasons — security considerations, safety of structures and the high cost involved in the UG stretch. While preparing the detailed project report (DPR) in 2003, it was recommended to have the UG station at Dr B R Ambedkar Veedhi in front of where the Vikasa Soudha multistoreyed buildings stand"

Hope they listen and implement! comment guidelines

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