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Cost to run Mumbai’s monorail likely to increase

The 19.6-km corridor connects Chembur to Jacob Circle via Wadala.

mumbai Updated: Apr 05, 2018 09:44 IST
Tanushree Venkatraman
The 19.6-km corridor connects Chembur to Jacob Circle via Wadala.
The 19.6-km corridor connects Chembur to Jacob Circle via Wadala. (FILE)

In a major setback for the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), the cost to run India’s first monorail is set to increase. Reason: the two bidders have quoted more than MMRDA’s estimates for the operation and maintenance of the corridor for 10 years.

The 19.6-km corridor connects Chembur to Jacob Circle via Wadala.

On Wednesday, the planning authority opened financial bids to run the corridor. When MMRDA has floated the bids for the fourth time in March, it had estimated Rs1,000 crore for operation and maintenance of the entire corridor for a period of 10 years. ILFS, the lowest bidder, has quoted Rs2,000 crore and Reliance Infrastructure, the second bidder, has quoted Rs6,408 crore.

Initiated in 2014, India’s first monorail has also been marred by constant delays, disruptions, accidents and maintenance issues. The 8.8-km first phase between Chembur and Wadala has not been operational since November, when two rakes of a monorail were charred in a fire at the Mysore colony station.

Since early 2017, MMRDA has been struggling to find a contractor to run the monorail. Earlier, ILFS had submitted bids for the project, but since it was the only bidder, MMRDA had to float tenders again.

Owing to its low ridership, the monorail was already close to Rs3 lakh a day. The fire resulted in a loss of Rs33 crore for MMRDA.

MMRDA is likely to seek a justification on the high bids from ILFS and also negotiate the cost. UPS Madan, metropolitan commissioner, MMRDA, said, “The final decision rests with the executive committee of the authority.”

Senior MMRDA officials said once the work orders are given to the new operator, the company will take a minimum of two-three months to stabilise.

MMRDA is also awaiting a nod from the commissioner of railway safety to begin operations for the second phase between Wadala and Jacob Circle. Once the commissioner gives his nod, MMRDA will have to seek an approval from the state government to start the services.