Nagpur: Pune’s ambitious R11,420-crore Metro Rail project has finally taken off with the commencement of the topographical surveys and geo-technical investigations. Physical work on the project is likely to commence in April-May next year, top officials of Maha-Metro — the 50:50 JV of government of India (GoI) and government of Maharashtra (GoM) — said.
And just guess who is the newly appointed M.D. of Maha-Metro? None other than our own Nagpur Metro Man -Brijesh Dixit!
(We are like that only in Nagpur, sharing our best ‘assets’ with the needy Western Maharashtra; our coal, or minerals, power we make and our own citizens we are very proud of! Devendra Fadnavis two years ago to be the state’s C.M. – when both he and we the people wanted him to be Vidarbha’s first Chief, and Brijesh Dixit now who is doing such a good job of the Nagpur metro that Pune wants him too.)
So what is so special about this man that he is so coveted?
He must be having many sterling qualities but one stands out. He never says No! Given a problematic situation, he doesn’t give up, he will probe all avenues, orthodox and unconventional, till he comes up with a solution.
That is exactly what Brijesh did when he was DRM of Nagpur Division some years ago. The state of the Ajni Railway station saddened him but there was no budget to build a new station. He did not even ask for it to be allotted. He saw this huge metallic tower near the Nagpur Railway station that was of no use anymore. He had it cut, made girders out of it, invested some surplus miscellaneous funds for buying galvanized sheets and there! You have a gleaming new Railway station that even looks modern and smart.
That is Brijesh Dixit for you. One of his favorite quotations is : “Imagination and Imagineering are very important. Lack of resources is only due to lack of imagination. As said by Oscar Wilde ‘those who live within their means suffer from lack of imagination’ “.
With his imagination and child-like, can-do enthusiasm, he has taken on difficult jobs and delivered results. Always delivered, before the given dead line. When he takes on a project, the more impossible-seeming the better, he looks at all its complexities carefully. Through the eyes of a mathematician or an Engineer solving a complex theorem. Seen like that, every problem has a definite solution, often a simple one. Factors that seemed like insurmountable hurdles can be turned into favorable – like the tides were used while building the Railway bridge over Vasai creek. Tidal energy was harnessed while laying the girders saving considerable human effort.
Another important ingredient of Dixit’s phenomenal success is the leadership he provides to the team he gathers round him. Like he says ” there can be no losers in a winning team and no winners in a losing team”. (As Divisional Manager, he has worked with thousands of Railway employees spread over many cities and three states. Many of his retired colleagues are now back with him working on the metro project, because they are aware of his leadership quality).
In February 2015 he was appinted M.D. of Nagpur metro and was its first employee, without even a designated office. Since taking this assignment meant moving to Nagpur from Mumbai where he was living with his family, he was allotted a bungalow in Civil Lines.
“I don’t need such a big place for just myself, I can live in a Guest house” he said and turned the house into an office for Nagpur metro. This is where the office still is situated though they have additional premises in Udyog Bhawan.
From then on, he had to set up the project from scratch, convincing Nagpurians to give their land for the project while simultaneously persuading them that they indeed needed this metro.! Partners and contractors had to be found and finance obtained. But for a Ph.D. in Economics – which he did after his Engg graduation – this was not so difficult at all. Loans have been proferred by German and French banks who are so confident about their Loanee that they are keen to transfer funds even before asked for !
Finance is just one part though – Brijesh Dixit wanted to make this the most modern, comfortable and also Green metro. Solar power would be generated and harnessed to run it he decided and every drop of water would be recycled. For this he signed an MOU with DRDO. Many such MOUs have been signed to get the best brains and best professionals internationally to work on Nagpur Metro, many of which will be setting up permanant offices here.
It wont be wrong to say that the city people now are waiting with baited breath awaiting the iconic metro stations that are going to come up in Ambazari, Sitabaldi and zero milestone etc.
They have caught first glimpse of how this man operates when Nagpur metro undertook the demolition of the flyover at Chatrapati square on the busy Wardha road and had the road restored for traffic again in a matter of a few days. They are seeing the pace of work at the Ram Jhoola metro bridge and shuddering with the memory of how long that first bridge for vehicular took to construct. They know that story won’t be repeated.
If you visit Dixit in his office, you will always meet a cool and unflappable genial host in his Green office. Yes, he is surrounded by flowers and green potted plants even inside his cabin.
“Not one of them is artificial – neither a plant nor a flower” he assures you. And somehow you knew already that this is not a man who will have paper or cloth flowers and artificial plants surrounding him. They do not go with the vibrant and dynamic image this man has brought to the Nagpur metro.
Facing him is a bank of screens showing the live action at every site of the metro. Is there a traffic snag somewhere? Are traffic marshals doing their jobs properly – is the construction work going smoothly? He’s keeping a cool eye on everything while talking with you animatedly and never seeming in a hurry, though there are always his officers waiting impatiently for him to get free. They will sometime barge in to get their papers signed, submit a report, report a problem or just take his leave if they are consultants from another city. He will give everyone a patient hearing and make suggestions.