Metro shelved, Chandigarh now plans monorail
After Union home minister Rajnath Singh put brakes on the much-touted metro rail project for Chandigarh in July last year, the Chandigarh administration is now planning to have monorail as an alternative model of mass transport in the city.
Monorail consists of a single track, typically elevated, with trains suspended from it.
A Switzerland-based company, Intamin Transportation Limited, has given presentation as well as proposal regarding constructing the monorail network to senior UT officers last week.
According to the proposal, the project will connect the tricity — Chandigarh, Panchkula and Mohali. In the first phase, 20km network is proposed.
During the presentation, the company stated that monorail has the capacity to ferry 10,000 to 12,000 passengers per hour per direction. The cost of construction will be around Rs 2,500 crore, which translates to Rs 125 crore per km.
Company’s representative Suniti Varma said monorail is environmentally friendly transportation system that runs on clean electrical energy.
‘Viable for tricity’
“The best part is that the project is viable in the tricity because of the light-weight track system that can be easily incorporated into the existing infrastructure,” said Varma. The firm said the monorail can be operated both automatically and manually with a driver on board.
A senior UT officer, who did not wish to be named, said the company has given its presentation and now the administration is studying the proposal in detail.
“We will have another round of meeting before giving the project a go-ahead,” said the officer.
If and when the project is approved, a technical and engineering feasibility study of the routes will be conducted followed by development and submission of a business plan and detailed project report, said sources. While private players are expected to contribute 80% cost of the project, the remaining 20% will be borne by the Chandigarh administration.
Why no to metro
It was in July last year during the home minister’s advisory committee meeting in New Delhi that Rajnath Singh said no to the metro project in Chandigarh, calling it non-viable, and asked the officers to look for alternative modes of transport.
Even the Chandigarh officers admitted that at Rs 14,000 crore, the project is not financially feasible. Also, neither Punjab nor Haryana had given their consent in writing.
Member of parliament (MP) Kirron Kher had already opposed the project stating that it would uproot the city. As a solution to traffic congestion, she had proposed a ring road.