The ambitious plan of constructing approximately 200 km of monorail across the Mumbai Metropolitan Region seems to have taken a hit. While Detailed Project Reports (DPRs) for almost the entire master plan are ready, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) has decided not to go ahead with any of the future alignments for the monorail.
“This certainly does not mean that we are not interested in carrying out the project. However, it is a fact that at the moment we do not have any immediate plan to start the construction of a second monorail in the region,” said Metropolitan Commissioner Rahul Asthana.
Work for the first line of the monorail, India’s first, is being carried out in full swing and officials expect to commission the first phase of the monorail from Chembur to Wadala by the first half of 2012. The entire 20 km alignment up to Jacob circle in Byculla is likely to commence by the next year end.
Considering that 20 Indian cities, including Pune and Nagpur in Maharashtra, have shown keen interest in having a monorail, it was expected that Mumbai will start constructing another alignment of the feeder system soon after the work for first line was awarded to the consortium of Scomi Engineering of Malaysia and Larsen & Toubro.
However, MMRDA suffered a major setback when plans to connect Thane-Bhiwandi and Kalyan by a 30 km long monorail corridor went horribly wrong. After a detailed study, MMRDA found that the viability gap needed for the project was a mammoth 90 per cent, after which, there were major modifications in the plan.
Top officials from Scomi said that this is not a good sign. “We were thinking of setting up a plant in Maharashtra. As things have been unfolding in the recent past, we may have to shift to Karnataka or Gujarat,” said a company official requesting anonymity.