Mumbai: Unholy rush to inaugurate monorail Phase 2?

Mumbai: Since the model code of conduct for the 2019 polls is likely to be announced shortly, it seems ruling parties are in a hurry to inaugurate various projects in a last-minute bid to lure voters. How else could one explain the rush to inaugurate Phase 2 (Jacob Circle-Wadala) of the monorail service on Sunday, a project that had hitherto been delayed for eight years. The rush to inauguration was despite the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA)’s unpreparedness to manage operations.

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who is also the MMRDA chairman and Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal officially flagged off this much-awaited service on March 3. Now, after services have started, the MMRDA has floated tenders seeking manpower assistance for this phase. It wants agencies which can provide customer support associates (CSA) for the newly operational mono line.

Interested parties are expected to furnish a solvency certificate to the tune of Rs 50.87 lakh from a nationalised or scheduled bank. Other criteria include experience in providing similar service and at least 41 personnel on its payroll. Only those agencies with a minimum annual turnover of Rs 190.75 lakh may apply.

Apart from seeking manpower assistance for the smooth functioning of Phase 2, the MMRDA has also floated tenders for additional rolling stock and spare parts to repair the defunct mono rakes lying unused at the Wadala carshed. For this, the estimated cost of work is Rs 2.14 crore, while the bidders have to make an earnest deposit of Rs 1.50 lakh and security deposit of Rs 10.73 lakh to the MMRDA.

On Monday, the entire 19.54km route (Jacob Circle–Wadala–Chembur) of the monorail was thrown open to the public. According to monorail officials, until 8 pm on Tuesday, 20,583 riders used the service and revenue collection was Rs 3.57 lakh. Phase 1, the 8.8 km Chembur-Wadala route, operational since 2014, had been struggling for ridership, barely attracting 10,000 passengers daily.

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Free Press Journal