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Development Of Metro Rail Tourism Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Tourism
Wordcount: 3633 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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The functioning of Mumbai depends mainly on the transportation system for the movement of people and goods in, out and around Mumbai. It is evident from the past that introduction of railways in Mumbai has resulted in the economic growth of the city. The current public transportation depends largely on the trains and buses. As per the data by Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport, 2003 and Indian Railways, 2002, Mumbai is the only exceptional city in India which has most extensive rail network carrying more than 5 million passengers a day- 58% of total public transport passengers as compared to 42% by buses (cited in Pucher & Korattyswroopam, 2004). Even after a decade, the population of Mumbai is heavily dependent on the railways as their primary mode of transportation. The city’s suburban railway was built to accommodate 1700 people, but today carries more than 3 times its actual capacity. Moreover, it is said that a fleet of around 200 railways make more than 2000 trips across the city which is still proving to be insufficient day by day. “The suburban trains handle a commuter population of 6 million every day, which is equivalent to the size of Sydney city. The trains also run at a very good frequency providing the right kind of option for travel” (Nallathiga, 2008 p. 38). Buses too are being exploited and the roads are not capable enough to hold the burden of ever growing population. The roads, railways and the buses are getting more and more congested due to urbanisation. Moreover, there is no scope to extend this city as it is geographically surrounded by water. So the only options which remain are either to shift the traffic under the ground, over the ground or on the water. Owing to this situation, it becomes essential to investigate the transport system and come up with solutions capable enough to handle the burden in the future. It would not only strengthen the backbone of this financial capital of a rapidly growing country but will also release a lot of pressure on the current transport facilities.

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Over the years, there have been many suggestions and recommendations which have been given for the development of Mumbai. Many of these projects are successfully completed or are either under construction. This research will primarily focus on the upcoming Metro Rail project which is being considered as a subordinate to the overcrowded suburban railways. The study will revolve around the difficulties faced by the project managers in implementing their decisions on such a huge scale and the strategies they need to overcome these problems. At this current stage the construction of the Metro’s first line which is 11.7 km stretch is under construction and is considered to be almost ready for the testing. “The original deadline for the project was August 2012, but ‘due to delays in getting right of work (ROW) permits from the government and other clearances for the project’, the project will eventually see operations by the end of this year” (Kumar, 2012 [online]). This can be treated as the first failure of the project and its management as it will be not be able to deliver the Metro Rail facility as per the committed schedule. At this point of time, a comparison of the project reports of Delhi and Kolkata Metro projects can prove handy in avoiding mistakes committed in past. Critical analysis of these reports can help in foreseeing the approaching management issues and take necessary steps. Metro rail is a huge project (as seen in figure 1.1) with many expectations to fulfil. Efficient and scheduled performance will not only benefit the economy but will also provide relief to the people of Mumbai, Government and the over stressed suburban railway. The findings from the project reports of the Metro Rail in Delhi and Kolkata can help in recognizing the threats that might affect the development of the Metro Rail in Mumbai. It will also find out the main weaknesses due to which certain plans in those projects had difficulties in successful implementation. Similarly, it will also benefit to understand the strengths of this project as well as the opportunities it has or will have in the future to capitalise and develop the project in a way that will pass on maximum benefits to its consumers and stakeholders. Developing a sustainable and robust transport system will contribute a big deal by laying a strong foundation to the progress of this city. The success of this research is necessary as this may further instigate a movement for a better and an efficient model of transportation system in urban cities and bring out the importance of project management in government projects across the country.


Fig 1.1 Existing Suburban Rail Map with upcoming Metro Rail routes [Source: www.urbanrail.net]

Theoretical Underpinnings:

The pursuit for conducting this research began after watching a couple of documentaries on the city of Mumbai. The first one was a National Geographic production known as ‘Megacities’ which looked into various aspects of working models of huge cities around the world. Mumbai was the city in one of its episodes. The transportation system portrayed in it fascinated me. This was followed by a bit of research and then I came across a documentary on “Bombay Railways” presented by the BBC. Being born and brought up in this city, I have experienced the crowd in the trains and other public transportation. But after watching the documentaries, it inspired me to conduct a research in this area to understand the way in which projects are planned and managed at such a high level where the pressure of performance and urgency to deliver is enormous. My next point of reference was a report published by McKinsey and Company in the year 2003 which laid a plan for rehabilitation of the city of Mumbai. These few intelligence sources form a background to my research. The focus then shifted to one of the recommendations given out in the McKinsey report being constructed in Mumbai which is the Metro Rail. This forms the main topic and the research will be conducted to overview the project management difficulties and complexities faced while carrying out such a big project in the huge city of Mumbai. Mentioned below are the theoretical academic sources that form a part of obtaining knowledge for the chosen topic.

Project Management: A systems approach to planning, scheduling and controlling (2009):

To commence every research, one needs a solid foundation of understanding the subject area. For project management the above mentioned book stands to be a guide. After the PMBOK (Project Management Body of Knowledge), the official project management guide by Project Management Institute, this is referred as a textbook for the certificate examination. The book is in its 10th edition written by Harold Kerzner, with more than 2500 citations. This book explains projects in various stages and gives a systematic approach towards its management. This book suits a beginner level of understanding of Project Management giving an easy understanding of basic principles. It accepts and inculcates changes taking place in the current business scenario and moreover explains them by giving case studies. The main purpose of using this book is its thorough explanation on organisational structure which would prove beneficial to understand the complex organisational structure of the public sector organisation in India. It also includes chapters on Time and stress management, risk management and quality management which can prove beneficial for the comparison of the ongoing metro projects and its various dimensions.

Successful Project Management (2005):

This research deals more with the success and failure of projects. For Government projects, many like the metro rail that is being analysed in this research, it is important to maintain the balance between demands of the public, project that has been undertaken and the final product that is being offered. Successful Project Management is a book written by Trevor L Young. It starts by defining success and what it means to various people measuring it. It even takes the reader through the technical terminologies of project management and leads its way through to the steps of managing projects successfully. This book has no more than 30 citations but will be very useful for this research because the Metro Rail project needs to be measured for its success. Success means a very big deal for the projects like Metro as it is being constructed to improve the present infrastructure of a city. Moreover it even uses public funds for its construction; therefore the expectations of return from the stakeholders will be higher than any other private projects.

Mass Urban Transportation in India (2008):

This journal article helps in shifting focus from the project management literature to understanding the issues in mass urban transportation system, especially in Mumbai. The article is written by Ramakrishna Nallathiga who explains the growth and urbanization of Indian cities and its relation with the development of three modes of transportation i.e. rail, road and water. It tests three different cities for its development in mass transportation systems and gives out recommendations for its growth. The author takes Mumbai, Delhi and Ahmedabad as samples, defines the background of each of these city’s transportation systems and tries to prove the importance of developing a robust transport system. Though the paper is not very well written, it can prove beneficial for this research as a source for a lot of valuable data compiled by the author, which would save a lot of valuable time and resources.

Evaluation of Public Transport Systems: Case Study of Delhi Metro (2005):

As the research gains more depth and focus, the next step will be going through the case studies. Since Mumbai Metro project is yet to be functional it might be difficult to gather all the required data. Also comparing similar Metro Rail projects already constructed in other cities of India can help in getting an idea of the issues faced by the management and examine the factors which can affect Metro Rail’s success when it starts in Mumbai. This journal article helps creating a literature base of the case studies. There are similarities in the objectives of this journal article and to what this research is trying to find out. The authors Mukti Advani and Geetam Tiwari try to test the success of introducing Metro Rails in three different cities in India. This will assist me in developing a critical vision to inspect the intelligence data and the documents collected from the respective organisations. This document has covered Metro Rail projects in Delhi, Chennai and Kolkata, two of which shall form to be a part of this research too. Hence, linking this journal article with the ‘Mass Urban Transportation in India’ article will help in gathering a lot of data and can create a platform to develop arguments once all the documents and intelligence that will be gathered.

The academic sources mentioned above can set off this research with a strong base of knowledge and provide direction to further research and analysis of the secondary data and intelligence sources. These four sources are connected to each other in order of which they have provided guidance and focus for the topic of this research. The topic chosen will no doubt have many complexities, which will be systematically dealt with the proper use of research methodology.

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Research Methodology:

This research proposes to look into the complex issues of the transportation system of one of the world’s biggest cities. It focuses mainly upon the upcoming project of Metro Rail in Mumbai and the factors affecting its construction and the problems that might affect its functioning in the future. Gathering secondary data and intelligence would prove insufficient because of the nature of this research. Collecting firsthand information and primary data particularly focussing on this research can actually help in understanding the difficulties faced by the local authorities in implementation of the plans. Hence, most of this research will be conducted in Mumbai where I will as a researcher involve myself as a part of it. Having interest in photography as well, I plan to even take some pictures for the research by myself.

The research is related to social science shaping into the path of interpretive paradigm. This approach proves to be beneficial to the research because of various reasons. “Interpretivists attempt to minimize the distance between the researcher and what is researched” (Collis & Hussey, 2009). This helps in accessing and analysing the information and is a part of the researcher himself. However as the participants are human beings, the reality is subjective and multiple depending on their view points. On the other hand it also provides a benefit to the researcher to keep an open mind and think in different directions as per the data collected. It also links to the methodological approach being used to conduct a research. Interpretivism uses an array of methodologies to help the researcher build up on a strong research.

This research will be primarily based upon the intelligence such as documents provided by the local transport authorities, newspaper articles, etc. supported by the evidence in academic journals, research papers and books. Document research will be the methodology applied in analyzing Public documents. Department of Personnel and Training, Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions have setup an initiative known as Right to Information Act, 2005 giving power to the citizens to avail the information published by the State and Central Government Legislation. This would prove beneficial to gain access to the documents related to the project. Mumbai Metro Rail project is the joint venture of Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) which is a public body, funded by the Reliance Infrastructure, a public limited company. “Familiarizing oneself with these kinds of research materials can be an extremely time consuming activity, mainly because of the vastness and detail of documents associated with official events and enquiries” (Bryman& Bell, 2011 p.550). It stands to be the main drawback as it might prove costly in conducting research with limited time. This will need a lot of time management which no doubt is challenging but if followed properly, will turn out to be the main feature of this entire research. The other drawback of document research is the validity and credibility of the data being used. “The question of credibility raises the issue of whether or not the documentary source is biased” (Bryman & Bell, 2011 p.550). At this point of time, intelligence sources like newspapers, websites and magazines will help in confirming the validity and the credibility which might help in getting a clear view of actual scenario. Critical analysis of the public documents will be a priority in conducting this research. The public documents provide a lot of information both qualitative and statistical which would help a great deal in understanding the situations in which strategic decisions are made.

Kolkata was the first city in India to adopt the Metro rail system. Delhi is also equipped with this system in the recent past. Therefore a case study analysis will also form a part of this research in which the project management of the Metro Rail systems in Kolkata and Delhi will be tested to provide data that will help in suggesting recommendations to the Mumbai metro rail project and build up a strong base of literature for the research. Studying cases of Kolkata and Delhi will also help in understanding the change in the strategic decisions taken over the period of time while undertaking the construction of these projects. This data will be collected from the secondary sources like journal articles or periodicals written by the government authorities to review their decisions taken on a particular project or by the management researchers conducting independent research. This approach will slightly direct the research towards quantitative research methodology. But this method will help in acquiring a lot of useful quantitative as well as qualitative data within a very short period of time and within the available resources. “Secondary analysis is the analysis of data by researchers who will probably not have been involved in the collection of those data, for purposes that in all likelihood were not envisaged by those responsible for data collection” (Bryman & Bell, 2011). There are various advantages for using this method of data collection. The most important one is that the data collected will be reliable and of high quality as it will go through rigorous examination and scrutiny being conducted by the organisation itself to analyse their performance. At the same time there will be some drawbacks of using this methodology too. Complexity and lack of familiarity with the data will need some attention while using this research technique (Bryman & Bell, 2011). Analysing and filtering the data as per the need of this research will be important to ensure the quality of work.

This particular research is being carried out for a taught master’s dissertation which puts a restriction on the time limit. Taking this research to a further level it would have been interesting to interview people who have worked for this project and also to interview commuters to ask their experience by travelling in Metro. That would have helped in understanding the effort and planning applied by the project managers and also the true success of this project.

Time Plan:

The main research is planned to be undertaken after the proposal is marked and accepted. As it is planned to be in Mumbai, I will fly back there on the 30th of May 2012. I shall be returning home after almost 10 months, so I wish to take a break and go on vacation with my family for 15 days. From 15th of June 2012, I shall start with the data collection process of my research. I have divided the whole data collection process in two different stages. The first stage will be going to the offices of MMRDA and Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation and collecting as much data in the form of public documents relevant to the research. The process is quite lengthy and time consuming and shall require a lot of formalities too. Therefore, I have allotted around a month’s time for the same. I also wish to take some photographs of the site where this project is being constructed. In the meanwhile I will start with the stage two of the data collection process i.e. collecting literature on the Project Management and Managing Transport related projects. After having sufficient literature for the topic and gathering data, I plan to start with analysing the data. From 20th of July, I shall start with the analysis of the data with the help of intelligence sources like websites and newspapers. Simultaneously, I shall even start preparing the drafts of the dissertation. Co-ordinating with my tutor, I shall send my first draft by the first week of August. Once I start writing the dissertation I plan to send drafts to my tutor every 10 days for 3 or 4 times. I have set a deadline of completing the dissertation by the first week of September i.e. before the 9th so that it allows me ample time to get it proof read from my friends who work in organisations as managers themselves and also from professionals/ managers in the Mumbai Metro project if at all they are willing to help me with it. After it is finalized and approved the final copy will be printed and bound before submitting it on the 25th of September 2012. I even plan to take up a job after going back home, which I look as a potential threat in my research process. But completing my graduation stands as a priority and as much as possible I shall stick to the plan that I have chalked for the entire process.

Ethical Consideration:

By conducting this research, I accept the responsibility of doing it professionally. I assure that the research shall be within the framing of Basic Research Principles. I also assure to do this research with honesty without abusing or exploiting the trust and knowledge of the respondents. I shall not make any false or misleading statements regarding my own information or my institution of research. There would be no harm, physically or mentally to any of the participant or to those of whom the information is being used. Its findings are unlikely to cause any damage to others who are not involved in it and the participation of the respondents shall thoroughly be voluntary. I ensure that the research shall be designed, carried out, reported and documented accurately, transparently and objectively. I take the responsibility of producing this research in limits and framework designed for research practice. The research will not use any kind of controversial interviews or questionnaires which could breach the personal space or integrity of the participant. The case studies and articles used to gather secondary data and samples will not be misrepresented in anyways and will be purely used to give out positive effects towards the research and society. This research will not violate any community standards by any means. (Source: www.esomar.org [online]).


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