You will have to wait till at least mid-2011 before you can travel on Mumbai’s first monorail, which is the 19.54-km-long Jacob Circle-Wadala-Chembur route.
The line, which is also India’s first monorail system, was scheduled to be completed this December, but “the delay in getting the home ministry’s clearance for construction near the Arthur Road jail and delay in completing the Wadala depot work will set the project behind by six months,” a senior government official said, requesting anonymity.
The monorail is being built in two phases: The nine-km Wadala-Chembur line was supposed to be completed by December 2010, while the Chembur-Jacob Circle stretch was expected to be ready by May 2011.
The delays near Arthur Road jail and the Wadala depot mean both phases will be set back by six months each.
The project got stuck near Arthur Road as officials felt that running the monorail so
close to a high-security jail with high-profile prisoners such as 26/11 accused Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab would be risky because it would give access to views of the prison premises.
The home ministry go-ahead finally came on July 1.
The permission came after instructions were given to the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority, the nodal agency, to install visual barriers alongside the Arthur Road jail and two watchtowers inside the jail premises.
The agency has also offered to raise the height of the prison wall.
The monorail stations will be close to Mahalaxmi and Lower Parel stations on the western line, and Currey Road and Dadar on the central line.
There will be 14 monorail trains of four coaches each, and every train will have the capacity to carry a minimum of 500 commuters.
The trains will operate at a frequency of 4.5 minutes, and commuter fare will be between Rs 8 and Rs 20, depending on the distance.
However, officially the MMRDA spokesperson, Dilip Kawathkar, maintained that the deadline would be met.