Apr 10, 2008

Parts of Mumbai Metro may be replaced by Monorail

People living on the Mumbai Metro route from Hutatma Chowk to Ghatkopar, a 22-km stretch, may find themselves riding the monorail instead of the Metro.

Planning officials at the MMRDA said the Metro route was being examined for viability. As the area along the route is crowded, the monorail—which is lighter than the Metro and does not take much space either—may find favour with the officials. The other route being examined for monorail viability, instead of Metro, runs from Ghatkopar to Mulund and covers 13 km. Both the routes were part of the Metro masterplan.

The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), a consultant to Mumbai Metro, is examining the routes in detail. A final decision on whether to have monorail or Metro on the said routes will be taken after the viability check.

MMRDA officials explained that while the monorail is like a large bus, the Metro is a lot bulkier and occupies more space. The monorail, on the other hand, can be built along a crowded road without requiring much space.

The Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar section of the Metro is being built by Mumbai Metro One, a consortium jointly owned by Reliance Energy Ltd, MMRDA and a French company called Veolia. The project is being built on private-public partnership. MMRDA planners said financial bids for the monorail would be ready by May 15 and work should start in the next two months. The first couple of routes will run from Wadala to Keshavrao Khade Marg in Byculla and the second one from Chembur to Govandi. The skybus project of Konkan Railway Corporation Limited—to compete with the monorail—was rejected by the planners right at the onset. MMRDA officials said it was done even before the project had a mishap in Goa several years ago. The monorail technology has been used in Japan effectively since 1963 and is a proven system, they said.

The planners said to have a technical consultant for the monorail, they will go in for global tenders as there is no such system in India. For the initial stages of the monorail project, RITES has been used as a general consultant.