Mumbai Metro-I rollout may delay – Lax state fails to notify Act

Mumbai:  Even as the Mumbai Metro One project is in its final leg and authorities are planning a December rollout, some hurdles remain. Last week, Anil Ambani’s Reliance Infrastructure-led Mumbai Metro One Private Limited (MMOPL) officially raised a concern in this regard.

In a communication to the state urban development department (UDD), MMOPL has pointed fingers at the government for delays in applying the Central Metro Railways Act, 2009, to the Metro service.

The 12-km long Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar (VAG) elevated Metro project is regulated under the Indian Tramways Act.

A proposal for applying the Metro Railways Act to the service has been under consideration since the Centre extended the Act to the Metro project in Mumbai in 2009. The Mumbai Metro One is the only Metro service in the country that is being developed under the public-private-partnership model.

Blaming the state government for the delay in issuance of a formal notification in this regard, MMOPL has raised concerns over possible delays in the project’s commissioning and warned of further cost escalation. The project cost has shot up from Rs.2,356 crore originally to Rs.4,291 crore owing to various reasons.

Sources said as per the Metro Railways Act, a Metro service

requires safety certifications from Research Designs and Standard Organisations (RDSO) and the Commissioner for Metro Rail Safety (CMRS) before it can be commissioned. These approvals, the source added, can take a while.

Claiming that it has been pursuing the matter with the government for three years, MMOPL has said it would not be responsible for delays in commissioning on account of the issue.

A senior state government official said the proposal regarding applicability of Metro Railway Act to Mumbai Metro had already been placed before Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and that it was expected to be approved soon.

Arguing that the project was working on tight deadlines, MMOPL has sought approval for the proposal at the earliest.

While the government and MMRDA officials maintain that the Metro service was on schedule for a December rollout, officials from MMOPL keep referring to the

fiscal year-end as the deadline for commissioning of the project.