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Mumbai: The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) will be paying more than double to run the Monorail, which is set to resume services on September 1. The Monorail operations were halted after a fire gutted two coaches last November. The consortium of Larsen and Toubro and Malaysia’s Scomi Engineering (LTSE) had asked for the per-trip cost to be increased to around ₹18,000. Before the fire, MMRDA was paying LTSE ₹4,600 per trip as per the agreement. MMRDA appointed a single-member committee under Subodh Jain, a former railway board member, who... more...
had also served as the general manager of the Central Railway, to fix the per-trip cost. A trip is a single journey from Chembur to Wadala, which is the operational phase 1 of the project. Sources said the per-trip cost has been been pegged at ₹10,600. MMRDA would also end up paying more once the complete corridor is opened, since Wadala to Jacob Circle in phase 2 is considered another trip. “The mandate given to me was to fix a trip rate until the system stabilises. We have recommended the revised trip rate to be in force up to a maximum of three years. In my opinion, it will take around 10 months for the system to stabilise,” Mr. Jain said. He said the goal is to achieve a per-person-per-kilometre rate of ₹1.50, while initially, the figure would be around ₹2.50. MMRDA officials said at present, it has been decided to continue with LTSE until February. During that period, LTSE is expected to repair and operationalise the remaining train sets. Of the 10 train sets, only three are functional as parts of the remaining train sets were used in the ones that were running due to lack of spares. “We may not be able to make up the operational costs in the initial few weeks. At this juncture, it is important to start operations,” an official said. Operational safety MMRDA, in a bid to improve safety of operations, will be installing high-resolution cameras at each end of the platforms of every station. “We will be able to get real-time visuals of the trains allowing us to reach faster in case of an accident,” an official said. Smoke detectors of each train have also been repaired. The inquiry report in the aftermath of the fire had mentioned that the smoke detectors of the train were malfunctioning. The corridor has seen delays and has missed several deadlines. Phase 1 was operational from February 2014 until the fire last year, and ferried around 17,000 passengers daily. MMRDA also floated tenders for the operation and maintenance of the corridor four times. In the last bid, IL&FS Rail had the lowest bid of around ₹2,000 crore, which is double MMRDA’s expectation of ₹1,000 crore. Senior officials said the tender would be discarded and the current arrangement would follow until an alternative is found. The corridor was built at a tentative cost of ₹3,000 crore.
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