The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) has indigenised Monorail transit. On Wednesday, the MMRDA Commissioner RA Rajeev inaugurated one monorail rake which was refurbished using Indian-made spare parts. The restored rake made two trips on the first day and now it will be put to service completely. Besides, two other defunct rakes will also be put into service similarly bringing the monorail frequency to 18 minutes from 26 minutes, informed the MMRDA official.
The Mumbai Monorail undertakings of MMRDA has managed to achieve a significant milestone. Reportedly, due to the outbreak of Novel Coronavirus induced lockdown the monorail services remain suspended like other public transport. However, the team by following strict norms has managed to restore the monorail lying dead in the depot for the past several years.
The official said, "As per the initial plan, the indigenously made monorail rake was to be commissioned by April but lockdown was imposed from March 22. Due to strict lockdown in the initial months, the work slowed down. However, when the lockdown was released gradually, work once again commenced and we managed to fulfill the commitment. We were worried that the spare parts developed should be integrated with communications and operations and it worked. Moreover, we saved 74 per cent of expenditure. Now, one monorail refurbishment with indigenous spare parts costs only Rs 8 crore otherwise if the spare parts procured from international agencies it would have cost nearly Rs 24 crore."
When MMRDA took over operations of the monorail from SCOMI, only three rakes were in service. Later in March 2019, the entire monorail corridor starting from Jacob Circle till Chembur of Mumbai Monorail was operationalised. During then, one more rake was commissioned and with total four rakes. Still, three more rakes were still lying defunct in Wadala depot for want of spare parts. The MMRDA was finding it tough to procure the missing spare parts for these defunct rakes due to its unique transportation system. Besides, SCOMI had also not paid the vendors following which it was difficult for MMRDA to bring the original contractor on board.
Interestingly, as per the contractual obligations SCOMI was supposed to provide 15 rakes but only delivered 10 rakes. Out of which two were completely cannibalised which even today cannot be repaired by MMRDA and one rake burned completely in a fire incident of November 2017. Therefore, only seven are available with MMRDA.