METRO RAIL UNDERGROUND CONSTRUCTION: A DREAM TO INDIAN COMPANIES
Chennai metro rail is a rapid transit
system currently under construction with two phases having both underground and
elevated lines and stations. The total length of line is 45.1 kms and the
project value is Rs. 14000 crores. The
first phase is now underway. Nearly 25 companies have been awarded tenders. We
found during our study that mostly the underground constructions were
undertaken by foreign giant companies such as SUCG, Mosmetrostroy and Transtonnelstroy.
Indian construction companies such as L&T have only joint ventures with
these companies but none of them involved as an individual unit.Some companies
such as the Tata group companies,Voltas and Tata Steel, are handling
independent projects in air conditioning and material supply.
Chennai Metropolis has been growing rapidly and the traffic volumes on
the roads have also been increasing enormously. Hence the need for a new rail
based rapid transport system has been felt and towards this objective the
Government of Tamil Nadu has undertaken the Chennai Metro Rail Project. This
project aims at providing the people of Chennai with a fast, reliable,
convenient, efficient, modern and economical mode of public transport, which is
properly integrated with other forms of public and private transport including
buses, sub-urban trains and MRTS.
corridor-1 starts from Washermanpet and ends
at the Chennai Airport. Dead end to dead end length of Corridor is 23.085 km,
out of which 14.300 km is underground, 8.785 km is elevated. Total 18
stations have been planned along this corridor.
starts from Chennai Central and ends at St. Thomas Mount. Dead end to Dead end
Corridor length is 21.961km. Alignment length is 22.000 from dead end to dead
end (Table 1).
Table1: Total length of
metro rail line (in km)
Central to St.Thomas Mount
Fig1: Route map of Chennai metro rail
Chennai metro rail
limited started awarding tenders for the construction of metro rail in Chennai
from 2009.So far totally 25 tenders were awarded to both national and
international companies. These tenders
are given for the construction of elevated and underground stations, electric
and signaling works and other project work. The tenders have been given
to companies such as:
The New India Assurance Company Limited, Chennai, M/S SGS India Pvt
Ltd, M/S Arthur D Little Limited, M/S.
LancoInfratech Limited, M/S Voltas Ltd, M/S Emirates Trading Agency LLC, Dubai
and ETA Engineering Private Limited, India Consortium, M/S The Nippon Signal Co
Ltd, M/S Siemens Aktiengesellschaft, Germany and Siemens Limited India
Consortium, M/S Gammon-OJSC Mosmetrostroy JV, M/S Johnson Lifts Pvt. Limited
and SJEC Corporation-JV, M/S. Larsen & Toubro Limited, Alstom Transport, SA
and Alstom Projects India Ltd.-JV, M/S Consolidated Construction Consortium,
M/S Transtonnelstroy-Afcons JV, M/S Metro Tunnelling Chennai L&T-SUCG JV,
M/s Tantia Construction Limited, M/s. Soma Enterprise Limited.
Elevated stations and other construction tenders have been won by Indian
companies such as: Larsen & Toubro
Limited (L&T), M/s. Soma Enterprise Limited, M/s Consolidated Construction
Most of the tenders for underground works have been awarded to international
companies from China, Russia and France either as individual companies or as
consortia. The companies are: M/S Metro Tunnelling , M/S Transtonnelstroy-Afcons JV, M/s
Alstom Transport S.A and Alstom Projects India Ltd Consortium, M/S Gammon-OJSC Mosmetrostroy
JV. The underground constructions and tunneling are mainly done by foreign
companies such as M/S Emirates Trading Agency, Dubai and ETA Engineering
Private Limited, M/S Transtonnelstroy, Mosmetrostroy and SUGC. Signalling,
Platform Screen doors and Tele-communications were done by M/S The Nippon
Signal Co Ltd, M/S Siemens Aktiengesellschaft, Germany and Siemens Limited
India Consortium (Fig 2).
signed its first metro rolling stock contract in India for supplying 168 cars
and 16 additional metro cars to Chennai Metro. Alstom will supply Chennai
metro's public operator with 42 train-sets composed of four cars each. Each
coach costs CMRL Rs.90 million. The
stainless steel trains will feature air-conditioned interiors and electrically
operated automatic sliding doors, offering comfort and easy access to
passengers. They will be equipped with a regenerative braking system ensuring
significant energy savings. The cars will operate on 25 KV AC through an
overhead catenary system at speeds of up to 80 km/h.
Financial support for the construction of Chennai metro rail has been
received from JICA (Japan international cooperation agency). The estimated
amount for construction is Rs. 14000 crores, the central and state government
of India is expected to contribute 41% and the rest will be given by JICA by
signing of ODA loan.
Fig: 2 Chennai Metro rail tunnel
FOREIGN COMPANIES IN
Many foreign companies
got tender in Chennai metro rail project among them three main tunnel
constructing companies are:
v SUCG (Shanghai
Urban Construction (Group) Corporation)
(Shanghai Urban Construction (Group) Corporation)
SUCG Infrastructure India Pvt. Ltd. is an international
company which integrates overseas construction, design and management,
investment, and sales of construction equipment. Shanghai Urban Construction
(Group) Corporation, established in October 1996 with the approval of Shanghai
Municipal Party Committee and the Government, is a comprehensive enterprise
particularly supported by the Ministry of Construction and Shanghai Municipal Government.
It is authorized by Shanghai State-owned Asset Management Committee to manage
the state-owned assets within the Group.
Urban Construction (Group) Corporation has the special-class qualification for
municipal public works, the first-class general contracting qualifications for
highway construction, housing, etc.
Role in construction of Tunnel:
plays a major part in Metrorail construction overseas; they focus on construction
of tunnels. In India it has three projects in joint venture with L&T, two
in Delhi metro rail and one in Chennai metro rail.
2 overseas tunneling projects in Singapore and Hongkong and has got “Best
contractor” award from Angola local government.
Technique used for tunneling:
machine used by SUCG in CMRL project is tunnel boring machine. The construction
method of underground railway shield-driven running tunnel
interconnecting channel is characterized by utilizing steel segments of
downward tunnel to make grid front earth-cutting device, connecting said grid
front earth-catting device with pipe-jacking equipment to form grid
squeeze-type pipe-jacking machine, jacking to upward tunnel from downward
tunnel and adopting prefabricated composite steel pipe components to assemble
them to form the invented interconnecting channel. This method has got China
national patent under the title: Construction method for tunnel contact passage
in shield section of underground railway.
Open Joint-Stock Company Moskovsky Metrostroy is a bearer
of the traditions of the Russian metro-engineering school, which
started to emerge in 1931, when it became necessary to set
up an infrastructure for the implementation of governmental
resolution to set up metro service in Moscow. It has got much
state, national and international prizes since 1939. It
plays a major role in road tunnels and interchanges.
Role in CMRL:
In 2010 Mosmetrostroy
in consortium with Gammon India Ltd. won 2 of 5 tenders
announced by Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL). The total contract
value is about $430,000,000. The joint project provides the construction
of 2 twin-bored tunnels and 7 metro stations
in the city of Chennai, India. The Total length
of the plot is 8.7 km (8706 m).
technique used in construction:
They play a major role
in road tunnels and interchanges. The two major techniques used for building
metro tunnels and stations are: shielding (underground) and cut-and-cover Shielding
all the works are done underground, without disrupting traffic
or affecting the town utilities in place. To bring
people, machines and materials into the tunnel under construction, shafts are
sunk, with hoists engineered. These are also used to bring out the
excavated soil. Soil excavation and lining are performed using a variety
of methods. Drilling-and-blasting method is based on breaking
soil with explosive charges placed in pre-drilled boreholes. After that,
soil is removed from the working face by rock-loading machines and
cast-iron or reinforced concrete lining is put in place
by special-purpose erectors.
cut-and-cover method is used for building subsurface
lines. Work is done in a pit or trench, which after lining
is covered with soil. In conditions of dense urban development,
special structures are used to stabilize pits, such
as a diaphragm wall or bored-secant piles with anchor
or girder bracing. Metro stations
are most often built by the cut-and-cover technique; tracks between them
by tunneling (fig 3).
Transtonnelstroy is a specialized
enterprise and is working on the design and construction of tunnels, subways, and
other specialty and underground structures for various purposes. It is a giant
Russian company for underground construction.It is mainly for construction of
tunnels and has completed many projects in Moscow. They have Modern tunneling
and special mining equipment which allows carrying out any construction and
operation of underground facilities for special purposes in different
Project in CMRL:
A joint venture of
Transtonnelstroy and Afcons Infrastructure has been awarded contracts worth Rs
2,598 crore for execution of the Chennai Metro Project. The two contracts with
a value of Rs 1,567 crore and Rs 1,031 crore, respectively cover respective
lengths from Washermenpet to Egmore station and from Shenoy Nagar to
Thiurmangalam station. The works include design and construction of underground
stations and associated tunnels covering a total length of 8.6 km and nine
I am fascinated to note that the Russian and
Chinese companies that have been awarded crucial tenders in the CMRL project
are Government Companies or Joint Stock companies.However, similar Indian
companies seem not have been awarded contracts. IRCON (the Indian Railway
Construction Company) that specializes in Railways (New Railway lines,
rehabilitation/conversion of existing lines, Station Buildings and facilities,
Bridges, Tunnels, Signalling and Tele-communication, Railway Electrification,
and Wet Leasing of Locomotives), Highways, EHV sub-station (engineering,
procurement and construction) and Metro rail, and also has undertaking
multi-million dollar railway contracts in Malaysia and Sri Lanka, has not been
awarded any tenders according to the website of the CMRL.
Similarly, the metro
rolling stock contract was given to Alston, a France based company, but not to
ICF, even though ICF has all the facilities to construct and maintain cars.
This analysis brings
home the point that though Indian companies may be competitive in the elevated
sections of metro railways, they lack experience, technological skill and
expertise in providing services to be competitive in the