Four years since it was mooted and after pumping in Rs 5 crore on drawing up a master plan, the much-touted monorail network seems to have lost favour with the administrators, who now find it a waste of state resources.
Planned as a supplementary transport system, the state government had earmarked over Rs 20,000 crore for an eight-line Monorail network in the city. However, the administration has developed cold feet with chief secretary Ratnakar Gaikwad asking the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) to reconsider the viability of the venture.
“There seems to be a lot of duplication between the new transport systems. I have asked MMRDA to review the entire master plan,” Gaikwad said. The review appears to be the first step towards cancelling many of the proposed eight monorail lines.
In 2008, Mumbai become the first Indian city to start building a monorail, despite developed countries eschewing it due to its limited carrying capacity. A monorail has a load capacity of only 500 passengers, against the Metro’s 1,500.
It is interesting to note that it was Gaikwad, who as the then MMRDA commissioner, had decided to go ahead with setting up of a monorail network to act as a feeder service to other transport systems. What may have forced the rethink now is that these lines have to be built solely with MMRDA funds, and also due to doubts on whether it will get the projected response from commuters.
The master plan was made by consultants Lea Associates at the cost of Rs 5 crore, but the authority has yet to start construction on any of the lines save the first one. In fact, in 2008, MMRDA had got a monorail line from Bandra to Bandra Kurla Complex sanctioned by the chief minister but later decided to scrap the project.
Metropolitan commissioner Rahul Asthana confirmed that MMRDA will review the Monorail master plan on state’s recommendation. “However, I would like to clarify that there are no plans of dropping the monorail project,” Asthana said.