Delhi Metro Rail Corporation expresses reservations about monorail. Alternatives such as light rail transit system under consideration

The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) has expressed reservations about the feasibility of the 41.8-km monorail, an elevated rail-based mass rapid transit system (MRTS), proposed for the busy Mangalapuram- Ulloor- Overbridge- Killipalam- Neyyattinkara corridor in the State capital.

Principal Adviser to the DMRC E. Sreedharan raised the doubts within weeks after the DMRC was appointed project consultant for the project, which had been found feasible by the National Transportation Planning and Research Centre (Natpac).

“The capital is a developing city and needs more than a monorail,” Mr. Sreedharan said.

LRTS suggested

Mr. Sreedharan, who reportedly visited the proposed monorail corridor in the capital, is of the view that the capital should go for a light rail transit system (LRTS) or something on the lines of the Kochi Metro.

The DMRC has been asked to submit a report to Chief Minister Oommen Chandy by July 9 as the government is exploring the possibility of combining the monorail projects in Kozhikode and the capital for getting tax and duty exemptions in the purchase of rolling stock from abroad.

Official sources said the government was also not happy with the project report submitted by Natpac. Minister for Electricity Aryadan Mohammed, who is holding additional charge of Transport, has openly expressed reservations about the Natpac feasibility report.

Alternatives

The DMRC is learnt to be going ahead with alternatives such as the LRTS for the capital in its report to be submitted to the Chief Minister, sources said.

Natpac has said that monorail can avoid dependence on personalised modes of transport and take away 40 per cent of the road traffic in the capital city.

It has suggested that the monorail project can be implemented on a Design, Build, Finance, Operate, and Transfer (DBFOT) mode.

The 22.2-km first phase, from Pallippuram to Thampanoor, can be commissioned by 2016 if the construction commences by 2013.

The government is also under political pressure to extend the MRTS beyond Mangalapuram, the sources said.

The 19.6-km second phase from Thampanoor to Neyyattinkara will be ready for commissioning by January 2018. The first phase will cost Rs.2,775 crore and the second, Rs.2,324 crore.

The cost works out to Rs.125 crore a km in the first phase and Rs.118.7 a km in the second phase. Compared to this, the 14.2-km monorail stretch in Kozhikode will cost only Rs.1,991 crore on completion.

High cost a factor

The high cost is also a factor that has weighed in against the monorail project in the capital as the State will not alone be able to mobilise over Rs.5,000 crore needed for the project.