Indian airports lag behind others in Asia, so the country intends
to construct 200 more facilities in smaller cities over the next 20 years.
Covering 3. 3 million square kilometers ( 1. 3 million
square miles), India clearly needs sophisticated transportation networks to keep its economy moving.
While the nation is already home to the world’s
fourth-largest rail network, high-speed and semi-high-speed rail service, especially for highly trafficked national corridors, is a top priority in India’s
US$4.8 billion transportation budget this year. Rail
projects in India look to improve speeds, introduce
new and sleeker trains, and maintain and upgrade
the signaling network.
Road and airport projects are also seeing an
uptick in activity, though red tape has put many
Telecom isn’t the only sector with upgrade as the
watchword. Transportation teams across the country are also launching major renovation efforts—but
India’s legendary bureaucracy is rearing its ugly
head once again.
Ansaldo STS, for example, is part of a three-company consortium hired by Indian Railways to
modernize the signaling system on its 400-kilome-
ter (249-mile) route from Ghaziabad to Kanpur. Yet
while Indian Railways approved the project plan in
2005, work didn’t gather pace until almost five years
later. At that point, the technology specified in the
project plan had changed, and the new technology
needed testing and approval from governmental
The project’s technology has been both “a crucial
component of project planning as well as one of the
big challenges,” says Sanjeet Teri, PMP, senior project controller, Ansaldo, Noida, India.
The team has also faced significant scheduling obstacles. Work can only be done on the rail
during two- to three-hour periods when there’s
no activity on the line. These brief work windows
ultimately have led to pushing back the completion date.
Along with its train routes, India’s congested
and hazardous roads are getting revamped. To
relieve congestion in India’s largest city, Mumbai
officials embarked on a INR30 billion monorail
project in 2008. Challenges involving the country’s
lack of experience with monorails, land acquisition
and environmental regulations have delayed the
project long past its scheduled 2011 completion. A
9-kilometer (6-mile) section opened in February,
with the final section, about 11 kilometers ( 7 miles)
long, slated to open next year.
Improvements haven’t been isolated to land
travel: Last year, the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose
International Airport in Kolkata opened a INR23
billion new terminal, expanding its annual capacity from 4. 8 million to 25 million passengers. Still,
Indian airports lag behind others in Asia, so the
country intends to construct 200 more facilities
in smaller cities over the next 20 years. A major
new airport near Mumbai as well as modernization projects for airports in Chennai, Lucknow,
Ahmedabad, Guwahati and Jaipur have been proposed, too.