Monorail misses deadline again

Sep 16, 2013, 01:14 IST | Ranjeet Jadhav

Lack of coordination, mediocre work and non-adherence to safety regulations meant that the Wadala-Chembur corridor did not open for public yesterday

If you thought you could travel in the monorail this month, you’re wrong. The Wadala- Chembur corridor of the monorail project missed the previously set deadline of September 15, as the safety certification for the corridor will take more time.

Delayed again:The Wadala-Chembur corridor, which was supposed to be thrown open to the public yesterday, missed the deadline, as it did not get a safety certification. Pic/Pradeep Dhivar

This means the inauguration is further pushed ahead. The Wadala-Chembur corridor was all set to be opened for operation this month.

Speaking to MiD DAY, Metropolitan Commissioner UPS Madan said, “As of now, I cannot comment about when the line will be operational. But, it will only happen once the safety certification is received. However, I can only say that the opening of phase-1 between Wadala and Chembur is not possible this month.”

On Friday Metropolitan Commissioner UPS Madan, along with officials from MMRDA and L&T Scoomi, the contractors responsible for operating the monorail, conducted a review of the entire project. They also took a ride on the Wadala-Chembur corridor.

“On Thursday, we travelled in the monorail between Wadala-Chembur and I am quite happy with the progress. There were some technical issues earlier, and after our trips, I found that those issues have been addressed properly,” added Madan.

In the last review meeting of monorail that took place between Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) and the contractor, the MMRDA authorities raised certain concerns regarding safety on the construction site as well as in the operations and maintenance of the entire system. (See box)

According to the Metropolitan Commissioner, most of the issues have been sorted out. MMRDA has appointed SMART, a Singapore-based agency to monitor the safety and security during the testing of the monorail. Additionally, a retired Commissioner of Railway Safety will also be inspecting the testing process.

Authorities feel that by the end of this month, they will be in a position to say when the safety certification would be in place. Only then will be the date of opening of the Wadala-Chembur corridor be fixed.

Rs 1,700 crore
The amount of money spent on the monorail despite which, the trains are not fit to run as required, according to the Assistant Metropolitan Commissioner, MMRDA

The miss list
The monorail project for the Chembur-Wadala-Jacob Circle corridor has missed several deadlines over the past three years.
Wadala to Chembur
>> December 2010
>> May 2011
>> November 2011
>> May 2012
>> December 2012
>> September 2013

Lack of trains, inexperienced staff and problems galore
On August 23, the MMRDA held a review meeting to check the progress of the monorail project. The minutes of the meeting, of which MiD DAY has a copy, revealed several shocking facts.

>> The Metropolitan Commissioner UPS Madan expressed his displeasure and deep concern at the lack of safety in the monorail system
>> A door panel from the train had fallen onto the streets, though luckily no one was injured. Among the several issues that were highlighted, the Commissioner referred to the incident of the panel door fall. He was also not sure whether the system would perform satisfactorily and safely
>> No rolling stock (a set of train and the tracks) was available for the last one month. According to the Assistant Metropolitan Commissioner, the contractor, L&T/Scoomi had been unable to provide trains, due to which testing plans had failed miserably.
>> Recruitments were unsatisfactory. From drivers, to ticketing staff to safety personnel, the review found that an attempt had been made to recruit inexperienced persons, train them hastily and put them into service.
>> Despite an opening deadline of September 15, none of the stations on Phase-1 had reached 100 percent completion.

Know your Monorail
>> The Chembur-Wadala-Jacob Circle corridor of the Mumbai Monorail, is 19.5 km-long
>> The project was awarded to a consortium of L&T, and Scoomi, which is a Malaysian infrastructure company
>> The contract for the Chembur-Wadala-Jacob Circle corridor was for Rs 2,700 crore
>> In 2011, a slab from the monorail collapsed, killing two persons 

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