Friday, December 24, 2004

State to study monorail proposal

Karnataka panel set up to study monorail project proposal
The Hindu Business Line

The Rs 4,045-crore project would cover important points in the city not covered by the Metro Rail

AS Bangalore awaits eagerly the clearance of the mass rapid transit system to alleviate its commuting problem, a new proposal, now under the Government consideration, has thrown up an interesting study about cost-effectiveness, capacity and viability.

A fresh proposal by Metrail to provide monorail system has been pitched as a feeder service to the Metro Rail, a project being promoted by the Karnataka state enterprise, Bangalore Mass Rapid Transit Ltd (BMRTL).

A high-level official committee headed by the Additional Chief Secretary, Mr Chiranjiv Singh, has been asked to appraise the project. The committee is expected to give its views by next week.

The Chairman of Metrail India Pvt Ltd, Mr Zafar Saifullah, said the monorail project was not going to contest the Metro Rail though it enjoys certain advantages in terms of lower cost, quicker execution time and lesser operating cost resulting in better return on investment.

The technology offered by Metrail, a consortium of Swiss and UK companies with an Indian architect firm as its associate, would be flexible to scale its capacity to meet the sudden flux in passengers due to Bangalore, he added.

The monorail project, covering 89.9 km could be completed in 18 months. The Rs 4,045-crore project would cover important points in the city not covered by the Metro Rail, which has projected its cost at over Rs 6,000 crore for a 33-km stretch. It has already suffered cost over-run from an earlier estimate of less than Rs 5,000 crore and is expected to take five years for completion.

Mr Saifullah contested the view that monorail was a mass transit system and said the "ridership" was as high as 12,000 passengers per peak hour traffic, with the mode having the capability to operate at a frequency of 90 seconds.

Meanwhile, Mr K.N. Shrivastava, Managing Director of BMRTL, said the metro rail was not confined to 33 km as indicated in the first phase. The uncovered routes would be taken up in two more phases for which BMRTL has given the mandate to RITES for a comprehensive survey of the metro rail route for Bangalore city. He said the work on the project would start as soon as the Government gives its approval in 15 days as assured by the Chief Minister N. Dharam Singh on Wednesday.


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