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State body to issue safety certificates?

It is highly likely that the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) may not have to rely on the safety certification from the Ministry of Railways before starting operations on the Metro and Monorail corridor.

Monorail
Safety first: After Monorail and Metro projects are completed, the Commissioner of Railway Safety, an organisation under the civil aviation ministry, inspects and certifies the project. File pic

The reason being that the planning authority has requested that an independent agency be formed at state level to conduct inspections and issue safety certificates. The request was put forward during a meeting with the Ministry of Urban Development at New Delhi earlier this month. In order to go forward with the plan, certain amendments need to be made in the Metro Act.

Speaking to MiD DAY, a senior MMRDA official said, “We discussed the necessary changes to be made to amendments in the new Metro Act, with the Ministry of Urban Development at the meeting. We want the government to appoint an agency at the state level to do the safety certification of the Metro and Monorail lines.”

Slow process
It should be noted that in the past there have been examples wherein the Metro lines had to wait for a long time to get the certificate from the Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS) because of which, there was a delay in starting operations on the line.

An MMRDA official said, “Having an agency to certify the Metro line at the state level will be beneficial as it will not only save time, but also money. If the amendments to the present Metro Act are made, then it will be very helpful.”

Presently, MMRDA has to depend on the CRS to get certification for the Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar Metro line.

“When it comes to issuing the safety certificate, the railways conduct a strict inspection and so the VAG line might take more time to be operational,” the official said.

Certification authority
Currently, the Urban Development Ministry has administrative control over the Metro rail systems, while technical control lies with the Railways. Every component of a Metro project, including rail-fastening systems, signalling systems or operations, requires approval from the Research Designs and Standards Organisations. After completion of projects, the CRS, an organisation under the civil aviation ministry, inspects and certifies the project. 

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