Mumbai: MMRDA finally finds two contractors in operating their services

Mar 14, 2018, 11:22 IST | Ranjeet Jadhav

The Monorail is expected to resume services by April after a hiatus of four months, following a fire in November

Come April, and the Monorail will once again zip through the city
Come April, and the Monorail will once again zip through the city

MMRDA might have finally found a guardian for its problem child, the Monorail. After struggling to find a contractor willing to take on its operations, senior officials have confirmed that two companies have expressed interest in the job. The Monorail is expected to resume services by April after a hiatus of four months, following a fire in November.

Mumbai Monorail has been out of service since November 9, when a fire gutted two coaches. Launched in 2014, it was India's very first monorail. Since then, however, it has been plagued with disruptions, accidents and maintenance issues. The number of riders on the Chembur-Wadala stretch has also been very low, which put off companies from bidding when the authorities began to look for a contractor to run the service.

It was only after floating the tender for a fourth time that the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) received bids from two companies. Highly placed sources in MMRDA confirmed to mid-day, " Reliance Infrastructure and IL&FS have submitted bids for running the Monorail."

While services are finally expected to resume either at the end of this month or by April, senior officials said that Scomi engineering will continue to operate the Monorail for another three to four months during the handover process. As an additional safety measure, a Singapore-based consultant, SMRT, is conducting an independent safety audit for the Monorail.

SMRT was one of the four companies that had participated in the pre-bid meeting. Now, the company has been commissioned by the MMRDA to examine the safety parameters. Scomi has also commissioned an independent safety audit.

Both audit reports will be submitted to the retired Commissioner Railway Safety (CRS) who is scheduled to inspect the Monorail and its stations soon. At present, there are 10 Monorail rakes, of which six are under maintenance, and four were in operation. Of those four, one was damaged in the fire. The authorities will now have to manage daily services as well as the trial runs along the extension to Jacob Circle.

MMRDA is now awaiting five new rakes and has also suggested design changes for improved safety.

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