Mumbai Monorail_ProjectsMonitor

Monorail ride may not remain the monopoly of Mumbaikars for long as seven other states/UTs too are planning monorail system in their respective states. Even in Maharashtra monorail is planned in other cities like Thane and Pune. Within Mumbai another monorail system connecting Bandra-Kurla Complex (emerging business township of Mumbai) with Bandra railway station is planned. If all projects materialize (there are 12 monorail projects planned in India) an investment of at least Rs. 50,000 crore is needed. However, actual cost may be much more as most of these projects are in planning stage and cost escalation at the time of execution may push up the budget even further.

Monorail has made its beginning in India with Mumbai being the first city in the country to have this transport system in place. It took more than six years from the date of inviting Request for Qualification for MMRDA (Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority) to complete a part of the project involving a stretch of 8.26 km. It is not yet clear how many more years it will take to complete the remaining stretch of 11.28 km. Story is no different in other monorail projects in the country. Most of the projects are stuck up at planning stage and have not made much progress.

Jacob Circle-Wadala-Chembur Monorail Project in Mumbai when fully completed will become the second longest monorail corridor (with a length of 19.54 km) in the world, next only to Japan’s Osaka monorail corridor which has a length of 23.8 km. However, there other monorail projects in the country which are more ambitious both in terms of distance covered and cost involved. Take the case of Bangalore Monorail project. The Karnataka government plans to build 54 km monorail corridor in the Garden city to relieve the daily commuters from daily traffic woes. Thane-Bhiwandi-Kalyan monorail corridor aims to have 30 km stretch. Chandigarh administration intends to offer busy traffic corridors of the Chandigarh Urban Complex totaling about 25 km for the development of monorail system on concession basis. However, the most ambitious Monorail project is planned by Metropolitan Transport Corporation (Chennai). MTC’s Monorail project Phase I consists of four corridors including Poonamallee-Vadapalani of (18 km), Vandalur to Velachery (23 km), Poonamallee to Kathipara junction (16 km) and Vandalur to Puzhal (54 km). The project is estimated to cost Rs. 16,650 crore.

Monorail Projects planned in the country
Cost (in `crore)
Bangalore Monorail Project
Bangalore (Karnataka)
Thane-Bhiwandi-Kalyan Monorail Project
Thane, Maharashtra
Thiruvananthapuram Monorail Project
Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala
Jacob Circle-Wadala-Chembur Monorail Project
Mumbai, Maharashtra
Partially completed
Delhi Monorail Project
Kozhikode Monorail Project
Kozhikode, Kerala
BKC Monorail Project
Mumbai, Maharashtra
Chandigarh Monorail Project
Chennai Elevated Monorail MRTS Project
Chennai, Tamil Nadu
Port Blair Monorail Project
Port Blair, Andaman Nicobar Islands
Dehra Dun Monorail Project
Dehra Dun, Uttarakhand
Pune Monorail Project
Pune, Maharashtra
Source: ProjectsToday

However, some states who made the announcement of Monorail projects later on have backed out due to various reasons. It was Chandra Babu Naidu who planned to introduce Monorail system in the country way back in 2003 when he was the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh. In fact, Hyderabad Urban Development Authority had invited Expression of Interest for setting up the project. However, with exit of Telugu Desam Party in the state Assembly elections in May 2004, the project was laid to rest by the successor government. West Bengal government also had plans to set up Monorail in Kolkata at a total outlay of Rs. 1,200 crore. The state government had given permission to Andromeda Technologies in 2008 to start a monorail covering a stretch of 20 kms from Budge Budge to Taratala. However, the idea was dropped later on and the state government did not cite any reasons for change of heart.

One interesting aspect of monorail projects in the country is the lackadaisical approach showed by private players towards them. According to a consultant involved in the Monorail project lack of regulatory clarity is deterring many private parties from taking a plunge. It is not yet clear whether project had to be classified under the Indian Tramways Act, 1886 or the Railways Act. So no one is clear whether it will come under the purview of Indian Railways or Urban Development Ministry. Due to lack of clarity Chennai Monorail project received lukewarm response from private investors. It is only recently that the government came out with a clarification that the project may be categorized under The Metro Railways (Construction of Works) Act, 1978. This clarification and also response of passengers to Mumbai Monorail may decide the future strategy of private investors. Till then most of the projects may find it difficult to move beyond planning stage.

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