Before giving its consent to begin operations of the Mumbai Monorail, the state government has sought a response from the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) on safety compliance.
“We have sought their response on issues regarding compliance. Once they respond satisfactorily to all the concerns, we will give the clearance for beginning the operations of the monorail,” said Nitin Kareer, Principal Secretary, Urban Development Department (UDD). Among the issues raised by the UDD are compliance of Commissioner of Rail Safety (CRS) recommendations on safety in the light of a November 9, 2017 incident. “We received the letter on June 11 and are preparing the response now. We will be submitting it soon,” said Sanjay Khandare, Additional Metropolitan Commissioner, MMRDA. They have also sought their response on the state legislature’s public accounts committee (PAC) report which had condemned the MMRDA for misjudging the feasibility of the monorail in December 2017. “The report had criticised MMRDA saying proper planning would have helped the government reduce the load on the city’s public transport. The state government has sought MMRDA’s response on the report apart from compliance of safety recommendations made by the CRS,” said a senior MMRDA official. The statutory body ensures that actions are taken on the objections raised by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) with regard to government spending.
While clearing the monorail for beginning operations, the CRS had made several recommendations to improve its safety. Among them were the installation of Platform Screen Doors, emergency chutes, hiring more staff, replacing spare parts and even the appointment of a Claims Commissioner. The MMRDA, along with their response on each recommendation, had submitted the report to the state government in April. “They must have found some of our responses unsatisfactory and has sought clarification on them,” said the official.
The MMRDA proposes to start the services of Phase II connecting Wadala to Sant Gadge Maharaj Chowk along with resuming the operations of Phase I. The Chembur to Wadala corridor has been closed since two coaches of the train were gutted in a fire at Mysore Colony station on November 9, 2017.
Since the fire occurred before the service hours, there were no casualties, however it revealed several inconsistencies in its operation. The preliminary report filed by the investigation committee revealed that the train which caught fire was running without a valid fitness certificate.