Monorail needs a SMART approval

Unlike the Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS), who would be issuing a certificate to the 11.07-km-long Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar (VAG) metro rail corridor, it has been learnt that an international agency would be issuing the safety certificate for monorail operations.

Wadala Depot and Bhakti Park
Foreign sanction: A two-kilometre test run was successfully conducted between Wadala Depot and Bhakti Park in February. File Pic

“Being the country’s first monorail, there is no agency in India which has the experience of issuing safety certificate to the monorail. So we appointed Singapore-based SMART agency as an independent assessor for testing and commissioning of the Jacob Circle-Wadala-Chembur monorail corridor,” MMRDA Joint Project Director Dilip Kawatkar said.

The international agency was appointed by the MMRDA in August and would be paid Rs 4 crore for certification work.

“The agency, appointed by the MMRDA, has expertise in certifying monorail routes. Doing certification will be the agency’s job, while the MMRDA will be responsible for operations and whatever happens after that,” Kawatkar said.

The MMRDA officials had approached the CRS in 2011, requesting the official to issue a safety certificate to the monorail. But the CRS turned down their request saying that the department had no prior experience in handling such projects.

“MMRDA should appoint an agency that has experience in certifying longer monorail routes like Mumbai, which will be the second longest in the world. The construction condition in India is different in comparison to other countries and the lines will pass through the most populated areas. So I don’t know on what basis the certification will be done,” Transport Expert Jitendra Gupta said.

Advantages of monorail
Reduced traffic: Nearly 28,000 taxis and autos and 25,000 private cars will go off the roads
Reduced travel time: MMRDA officials says a 40-minute commute will be reduced to half
Less crowd: The capacity of the four cars is 8,000 to 12,000 per hour in any direction.
Reduced pollution: A monorail produces less noise and is eco-friendly
Disadvantages of monorail
Less capacity: Carrying capacity of a monorail is limited in comparison to the metro rail and suburban local trains
Low speed: Local trains and metro run faster than a monorail 

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