All aboard! India's first monorail begins operation in Mumbai
CM admits to delays, promises launch of second phase by 2015 and inauguration of metro services by March. MMRDA mulls imposing penalty of Rs 6 crore on the contractor for missing six deadlines
Even as the first phase of the county’s first monorail was inaugurated on Saturday by Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, questions were asked about whether the state would collect a fine from the contractor for the delay in completing the project. The agreement signed between the contractor and the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) states that the contractor will have to pay a fine of around R50 lakh per month for delays.
The monorail was flagged off from Wadala around 3.40 pm as Chief Minister of Maharashtra Prithviraj Chavan arrived late for the inauguration. Pic/Pradeep Dhivar
Speaking to Sunday MiD DAY, Metropolitan Commissioner UPS Madan said, “It is true that there was a major delay. However, the decision on the same will be taken only after going through various factors that caused the delay.” Sources from MMRDA told this newspaper that the agreement states that if there is a delay in the completion of the monorail, there is a provision, which gives them the power to charge a penalty from the contractor to the tune of R50 lakh for missing each deadline. Since the monorail missed six deadlines, the MMRDA can seek a penalty of R6 crore from the contractor.
Policemen get their pictures clicked against the country’s first monorail. Pic/Sayed Sameer Abedi
“If the delay has happened because of the late handing over of the right of way or permission from other agencies, then we can’t say that the delay happened because of the contractor,” said an MMRDA official requesting anonymity Earlier in the day, Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan inaugurated the Wadala-Chembur phase. While 3 pm was the official time for the inauguration, the CM arrived late and the flagging off happened after 3.40 pm. Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, along with the Metropolitan Commissioner and other dignitaries travelled from Wadala to Chembur on the journey.
Speaking at the inauguration, Chavan said, “Implementing projects in a city like Mumbai is very difficult and I admit that this project was delayed. But in the next year, we will also open the second phase. I am sure many tourists from various states and countries will come to take a ride on it.”
The CM also said that the Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar (VAG) Metro rail line would also start soon. “We expect the line to be operational by March,” he said.
>> Train timings: For around a month the monorail will be operational between 7 am to 3 pm. After that, depending on the response from commuters the timing will be increased and the trains will run in two shifts.
>> Train Frequency: Every 15 minutes.
>> Number of coaches: 4
>> Capacity: 568 passengers (18 seated and 124 standing in each coach).
>> Speed: 31 km per hour
>> Tickets: Priced between R5 (upto 3 km) and R15 (between 15 and 20 km)
Deadlines missed by Wadala-Chembur monorail