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Monorail in Chandigarh not financially viable, will spoil city’s character, say experts

Monorail consists of a single track, typically elevated, with trains operating on it. According to the proposal, the project will connect Chandigarh, Panchkula and Mohali.

punjab Updated: Oct 16, 2018 10:48 IST
Hillary Victor
Hillary Victor
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Chandigarh,Monorail,Chandigarh administration
(HT File )

The Chandigarh administration is not keen on the monorail project as an alternative model of mass transport in the city. The development comes after the metro rail project was scrapped in July last year.

The administration officers say they have consulted the experts, who say it is “financially non-viable with the potential of spoiling the original character of the city.”

Monorail consists of a single track, typically elevated, with trains operating on it. According to the proposal, the project will connect Chandigarh, Panchkula and Mohali. In the first phase, 20km network is proposed.

“Monorail is a long-term project, but first we want to increase the frequency of bus service in the city,” said UT transport secretary AK Singla.

“We are planning to phase out non-AC buses and will bring in AC ones, which will connect every part of the city,” said Singla.

It is environment friendly: Swiss firm

In the past three months a Switzerland-based company, Intamin Transportation Limited, has given presentation twice on constructing the monorail network. The company’s representative, Suniti Varma, said, “Monorail is environment-friendly transportation system that runs on clean electrical energy. But, despite giving presentations, we have not got any reply from the administration.”

The firm in its presentation stated that monorail will be constructed at the cost of 2,500 crore, which translates to Rs 125 crore/km. The representatives stated that monorail has the capacity to ferry 10,000 to 12,000 passengers per hour in a given direction.

A senior officer of the Chandigarh administration, on the condition of anonymity, said, “After having elaborate discussions with experts, we have found that Monorail is not financially viable project. At present, we do not need Monorail, it may be required after two decades.”

OP Aggarwal, former joint secretary, Union ministry of urban development, said, “Population in Chandigarh is fairly dispersed and there’s not a single corridor, which is highly dense. Even the travel demand is evenly distributed. Public transport needs to be strengthened, which should have a wider network.”

There were questions raised on its limitedness and feasibility by Sanjay Goel, chairman of Indian Institute of Architects, Punjab chapter.

Surinder Bahga, member of the advisory committee on UTs, ministry of home affairs, New Delhi,said, “Monorail needs elevated track, which are not only costly but will spoil character of the city. During emergency, immediate exit is not possible.”

Why Metro project was rejected

During the home minister’s advisory committee meeting in New Delhi in July 2017, Rajnath Singh had said no to the metro project in Chandigarh, terming it non-viable, and had asked the officers to look for alternative modes of transport.

The transport that was proposed needs to be used by 40,000-70,000 passengers at the peak hour in peak traffic to ensure viability, which is expected to be achieved only in 2051. Even the UT officers had admitted that at Rs 14,000 crore, project isn’t financially feasible.

Member of parliament Kirron Kher has been against the project as she had stated that it would uproot the city. As a solution to traffic congestion, she had proposed a ring road.

First Published: Oct 16, 2018 10:43 IST