Special Correspondent

CHENNAI: The Pattali Makkal Katchi has moved the Madras High Court to restrain the State Government from implementing its "flawed decision" to introduce monorail in Chennai.

The public interest litigation petition filed by party president G.K. Mani said the project was initiated in great hurry. It was being implemented with even "greater, unnecessary haste," without a feasibility report being prepared. Besides being unsuitable for the city's needs, the project was economically unviable.

Though the Government Order, dated December 29, 2005, merely directed the Managing Director of the Metropolitan Transport Corporation to send detailed proposals for the project, he, "in excess of his powers," issued a press advertisement on January 9, 2006, inviting international bids, Mr. Mani said.

Maintaining that the Government had initiated a metro rail network for Chennai before issuing instructions to the Delhi Metropolitan Rail Corporation to stop preparation of a detailed project, Mr. Mani said even as an economic proposition, the monorail could not succeed.

"For the contemplated distance of 300 km, the scheme will require ... Rs. 30,000 crore. The project will be well above the affordability of the common man. For a mass transport system to be successful in Chennai, it should transport 45,000 passengers per hour in one direction. The monorail is only capable of carrying 10,000-15,000 persons per hour in one direction. The operation and maintenance expenditure ... is 50 per cent more than a metro on account of a large number of pneumatic wheels."

Describing it as a "gross encroachment of powers vested in the Union Government," the petitioner said: "The State Government has no legislative competence and executive power to allow monorail without ... authorisation from the Centre... The project can be implemented only by the Ministry of Urban Development in consultation with the Railways and the State Government."

Besides seeking an interim injunction restraining the Government from implementing the project, the petitioner prayed for the quashing of the January 9 GO.