Mumbai Monorail master plan to be ready this month
The master plan for the monorail will be ready soon. It will list several routes in the city, including one from Lokhandwala Complex to Seepz on the Jogeshwari Vikhroli Link Road. The plan will be submitted by consultants, Lea and Associates, to the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) by the month-end. According to MMRDA officials, the 185-km master plan for the monorail will include a route from Sheel Phata to Mahape to Kalyan. The Lokhandwala-Seepz link will later be extended to Kanjurmarg. Routes connecting Thane-Kalyan-Bhiwandi are also part of the plan. After a discussion, the proposal will be put up before chief minister Ashok Chavan who heads the metropolitan authority, for approval. Work on the first line from Jacob Circle to Wadala is in progress and the project is being undertaken by Scomi of Malaysia and L&T. The project entails building a monorail from Jacob Circle to Chembur, a distance of 20 km at a cost of Rs 2,460 crore. According to MMRDA officials, the current cost of building the first line is Rs 125 crore per km, but this is bound to decrease as they negotiate with international firms for better rates. Scomi and Hitachi have expressed an interest in building the other monorail routes. When the first monorail project was announced, there were three firms in the race—Hitachi, Bombadier and Scomi/L&T. Hitachi is still interested in the projects, said MMRDA officials. “The new routes being discussed seem to be lucrative enough and might generate enough revenue. So the firm that builds the line might not need any Viability Gap Funding(VGF). This is necessary if the project is not financially viable,’’ added MMRDA officials. The MMRDA will also discuss the integration of the monorail route with the BEST bus system. It plans to have commuters take the bus to the monorail station, alight from the monorail and get into the Metro for seamless travel into the city.