Mumbai: A delegation of leaders led by Sachin Ahir, Mumbai, president of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), asked RA Rajeev, the additional commissioner of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), to take over the monorail Phase II (Wadala to Jacob Circle) operations, just as they did for the Mumbai Metro.
“Only because they have failed to get bidders to operate and maintain the monorail extended corridor, the service has not been opened to the public and it is sad. This extended corridor will provide major relief to Mumbaikars. Like in the case of Metro, MMRDA should operate the monorail operations and begin services at the earliest. People want to use it,” Ahir told The Free Press Journal.
MMRDA, the nodal authority for the project, was to commission Phase-II in December 2010. However, even after eight years, the authority has not been able to begin operations from Wadala to Arthur Road. The project has been plagued with problems and was stalled due to pending approvals from the Commission of Railway Safety (CRS) and the state government. MMRDA is still to get a contractor to for the operation and maintenance of this elevated corridor.
The additional metropolitan commissioner, Sanjay Khandare said, “The authority has got the nod from CRS. We were just waiting for the clearance from the state, which too we have received. The state has given conditional clearance to start the corridor. Hence, we are looking forward to open the Phase-II corridor to the public at the earliest.” According to MMRDA, the state government has put forth several conditions in their report. They have focussed on the maintenance and safety aspect of the service, in case of any untoward incident.
Another major cause for the delay was the inability of the agency to find a bidder for this extended corridor project even after calling for tenders 15 times. Since it received no response, the MMRDA is said to have approached the Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation (MRVC). Even here, they did not receive any positive response. Now the only option left with MMRDA is to negotiate with Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services, which won the bid to operating the monorail services. Meanwhile, MMRDA is also in talks with the current operator of Phase-1 (Chembur to Wadala), Scomi Engineering Company.