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Mumbai dismisses ‘failed’ monorail operator

The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) has terminated the operations and maintenance contract held by the LTSE joint venture for the city’s troubled monorail, citing a ‘failure to perform and fulfil contractual obligations’.

On 14 December the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA)
terminated the operations and maintenance contract held by the LTSE joint venture for the city’s troubled monorail, citing a ‘failure to perform and fulfil contractual obligations’.

MMRDA has taken over operations, with the line’s 200 staff rehired through an external agency; the authority is also to draw down LTSE’s INR2bn (EUR25m) bank guarantee.

The current 8.9km (5.3-mile) line was intended to be the first part of a 19.5km (12.1-mile) southern route between Chembur and Jacob Circle to open in December 2010. Financial and technical difficulties led to delays and on 2 February 2014 a truncated seven-station route opened between Chembur and Wadala depot, with the section to Jacob Circle due to open in December 2016. This has yet to be commissioned and operations on the first phase were suspended for around ten months following a fire in an empty monorail train on 9 November 2017. A plan for seven further lines was cancelled in 2016.

Describing the decision as “unfortunate”, MMRDA Commissioner RA Rajeev said: “MMRDA gave them a long rope to enable them to recover from the situation. However, LTSE failed to supply the rolling stock, failed to operate and maintain the system on the entire corridor and failed to rectify defects as per the contractual clauses. This also resulted in inordinately delaying starting the Phase 2 from Wadala to Sant Gadge Maharaj Chowk (Jacob’s Circle). Also, LTSE failed to maintain the quality of monorail services.”

The monorail was built by a consortium of infrastructure contractor Larsen & Toubro and Malaysian rolling stock supplier Scomi Engineering, although only ten of the planned 15 four-car trainsets have reportedly been delivered, with six out of service due to undelivered spare parts.

In a statement, Mr Rajeev laid the blame for the failures with Scomi Engineering, saying that Larsen & Toubro had carried out all its elements of the contract satisfactorily.

Work on the planned 42.5km (26.5-mile) Visakhapatnam Metro Rail network in Andhra Pradesh is to begin in February, following a decision in December to accelerate the project. The INR88bn (EUR1.1bn) three-line metro is primarily funded by the state government (51%), with the national government contributing 10% and the remainder forming part of a PPP concession to include property development rights at sites surrounding several key stations.

Five consortia expressed interest in the PPP concession when a Request for Qualification was issued in February 2018. All five were shortlisted for the next round of bidding and are expected to submit their proposals by 21 January.