Indian Infrastructure: Delhi

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Sept. 4 – You will be hard pressed to find infrastructure in other parts of India that can match Delhi’s. While the transportation and utilities networks do exhibit reliability issues in some areas, coverage is extensive with ongoing plans for upgrading and expansion.

Roads
Delhi has five national highways (NH) passing through its territory, namely NH-1, NH-2, NH-8, NH-10 and NH-24. These highways converge with Delhi’s two ring roads and connect the national capital with the rest of the country. There are also three expressways (six and eight lanes wide).

Traffic congestion on Delhi’s major arterial highways has worsened over the years. Authorities have thus designed plans for the construction of an eastern and western peripheral expressway that will essentially form a third ring road outside the city to better connect Delhi’s nearby satellite cities and expedite traffic. While these peripheral expressways are expected to greatly alleviate congestion within Delhi, delays in construction and debates over tolls to be charged have impeded the project. No clear completion date has been set for the western segment and construction has yet to begin on the eastern segment.

Recently, the Prime Minister’s Office has called for the creation of an expressway linking Delhi and Jaipur. However, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has called the project unviable and it is unclear if the project will be completed.

There are three inter-state bus terminals at Kashmeri Gate, Sarai Kalen Khan and Anand Vihar. The Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) buses are the most common means of transportation in Delhi. They not only operate within the city, but also connect with neighboring states. All buses run with compressed natural gas to minimize pollution, making the DTC the world’s largest compressed natural gas bus service.

Other bus services, provided by private companies, are also available. The use of a bus rapid transit system (BRT) and the provision of dedicated corridors for the service have allowed the system to improve its efficiency. Auto-rickshaws and cycle-rickshaws are also popular means of transportation.

Railways
Delhi’s railway network consists of four key railway stations: Old Delhi, New Delhi, Hazrat Nizamuddin and Sarai Rohila railway stations. The New Delhi station holds the record for the largest route interlocking system in the world. To divert the heavy traffic at the New Delhi and Old Delhi railway stations, new railway stations and lines are under construction. Reliability is an issue however, as fog in winter routinely leads to the full cancellation of entire routes, often for as long as a few weeks.

The Delhi government has proposed that a monorail should be built to run on two lines: the Red Line at Shastri Park and the Blue Line at Nirman Vihar. A new route in the East Delhi area has also been proposed and is currently being examined for feasibility. Construction on the Red and Blue Lines is projected to finish by 2017.

A light rail system is also going through feasibility studies to determine whether to move forward on this project as well.

Metro Rail
To relieve traffic congestion, Delhi Metro Rail Corporation aims to build a complete metro rail network covering the entire city by the year 2021 spread out over four phases. The first two phases of the project were completed in 2010, resulting in a total of 142 stations over 6 train lines, covering 189.63 kilometers. Currently the system reaches North Delhi, East Delhi, Central Delhi and West Delhi. Phase three of the project has begun and many of the new lines are in construction.

Air
Delhi has three airports: Indira Gandhi International Airport for international flights; Palam Airport for national air services; and Safdarjung Airport for training purposes. The Indira Gandhi International Airport, rated as India’s busiest and largest airport, is conveniently located 24 kilometers south of New Delhi. The airport is directly accessible by metro railway or by highway. The airport has a current capacity of 46 million passengers a year and plans to implement expansion that will allow it to handle 100 million passengers by 2030.

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