A dedicated transit system connecting the 10 buildings being built as part of the new Central Secretariat complex, itself part of the ongoing Central Vista redevelopment, will be accessible from the Central Secretariat Metro station and ferry up to 20,000 people during peak hours, keeping much of the movement between the buildings underground, and also making it easy for commuters to transit to their offices from metro stations.
“The people mover will be accessible from the Central Secretariat Metro Station’s concourse level, which is an interchange for the Yellow and Violet lines. The people mover will be connected to the Central Secretariat buildings in the basement,” said Bimal Patel, head of HCP Design, Planning and Management Private Limited, the consultant and architect for the Central Vista redevelopment project.
A people mover is a small scale transit system mainly used to serve a small area such as airports and parks. The feasibility study for the underground transit project has been done, said HCP Design. The people mover will have coaches and run on electricity just like the Metro, but the technology it will run on is yet to be worked out by Central Public Works Department (CPWD), the government’s construction arm, and the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC).
The two are also working on the alignment, technology and the construction details, said the consultant. CPWD and DMRC officials declined comment.
Under the Central Vista project, a common Central Secretariat, a new Parliament House building, and residences of Prime Minister and vice-president will be constructed. The new Parliament building will be ready by 2022. A portion of the new Central Secretariat, which will house offices of all central ministries, will be completed by 2023.
The deadline for completion of the entire project is 2024.
The people mover, a 3-km-long (approximately) underground transit facility was initially meant to connect to two Metro stations — Central Secretariat and Udyog Bhawan but the latter was found to be infeasible as it is not an interchange station and its distance from the proposed people mover corridor is an issue.
While the people mover will connect all 10 buildings in the new Central Secretariat, which will house 51 ministries, it will not be connected to the new Parliament building.
The Central Secretariat metro station is one of the major interchange stations on DMRC’s network. The station provides interchange between the Yellow (Samaypur Badhi-HUDA city centre) and Violet (Kashmere Gate-Raja Nahar Singh (Ballabhgarh) lines.
The 38-km-long Yellow line is the busiest and carried an average of 1.45 million people a day before the pandemic.
The people mover will have four stations — one for every cluster of three buildings of the Central Secretariat.
“The buildings will be connected by an underground people mover and by an overground shuttle. These facilities will make the Central Secretariat a transit-oriented development. The plan is under development and will be finalised in coordination with all other projects being developed as part of the Central Vista Redevelopment,” said Patel.
The cluster of three buildings will be connected to the station by a walkway with travellators in the basement to ensure safe, secure and seamless movement of people.
Traffic volume in the Central Vista area will increase once the redevelopment project is complete. Connectivity to the Metro is essential because 44% of people currently working in various offices in the Central Vista use it, according to a survey conducted by HCP. Apart from the people mover, the capacity of roads will also be increased.
HCP wants to increase this proportion to 50% , which is where the people mover comes in. As for the traffic, according to HCP, it will be “be managed by providing increased road capacities, dedicated access lanes and better entry and exit to the Central Secretariat. The Central Secretariat is being planned to provide parking for visitors to avoid on-street parking prevalent today. There will be dedicated bus bays and taxi bays…”
Amit Bhatt, director transport at WRI India, said the people mover “is a good idea, but its success will depend on its integration with the existing transit system, including payment modes. Apart from providing alternative modes of public transport, it is important to put in place mechanisms to discourage the use of private vehicles… Just providing a public transport system is not enough…”