Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Table of Contents for Infratrack



Riding the beam of joy


No one probably saw the coincidence, but an 8.8 km long transport solution found in the monorail after an 88-year long wait, best sums up both the delight and agony of India’s commercial capital, Mumbai.


The last important transport development was in 1926 when the Bombay Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) first started the famous red buses in the city.


The monorail, for long touted by the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority as a high-tech solution to the city’s notorious traffic congestion, and inaugurated on February 1, is also significantly Mumbai’s first public transport system post-independence, and the first of its kind for the country.


The monorail project which was begun in 2008, and was expected to be completed in 2011, has been a protracted and complicated affair, owing to difficulties in land acquisition and obtaining of various permissions.


The project constructed by a consortium comprising Larsen & Toubro and Scomi Engineering Bhd in its initial phase runs north from Wadala to Chembur in the eastern suburbs, with seven stations along the route. Once the second phase is completed in another year, the monorail is expected to carry an average of 7,400 passengers per hour, and a total of 125,000 commuters daily.


Another 20-kilometer corridor running south from Wadala to Jacob Circle in Byculla in central Mumbai will confer on it the status of being the world’s second-longest monorail system after the Osaka Monorail in Japan.


It is therefore easy to see why political minders are ecstatic over the latest acquisition. “It is going to give a new identity to Mumbai,” said Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan who inaugurated the maiden line.


Ergo, it is just a matter of time before other Indian cities join the monorail bandwagon. For once, after a long, long time, Mumbai seems to have taken a lead. And that is something for its citizens to be proud of.

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