Mumbai opens monorail to ease traffic congestionAgence France-Presse . Mumbai / New Age Online
India's financial capital unveiled its first monorail system on Saturday, a much-delayed project that aims to boost the city's creaking transport infrastructure and ease traffic on its notoriously congested roads.
The first phase of the transit system, which opens to the public on Sunday, will ferry passengers in green, pink and blue carriages along an 8.8 kilometre (5.5 mile) stretch in the city's east, with the line expected to extend to about 20 kilometres in length and into south Mumbai next year.
Mumbai is famed for its poor roads, heaving traffic and a claustrophobic local train network, which carries millions to work each day and on which thousands die each year -- mostly from illegally crossing the tracks.
The monorail aims to ease congestion for commuters in the busy eastern suburbs and help connect them with the city's trains.
When completed it will have capacity for 100,000 to 200,000 passengers a day, according to the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority.
But analysts are skeptical of the impact it will have in the densely populated city.
"The fundamental issue is that the project is only half finished. So you can call the current stage just a pilot or a test of the hardware. It will not be a game changer," said Ashok Datar, a transport expert who runs a non-profit group in Mumbai focused on traffic congestion.
Road traffic issues cannot be solved by railway-based solutions, Datar added.
Others have criticised the costs and delays of the project, built by Malaysia's Scomi Engineering Bhd and its Indian partner Larsen and Toubro, which overshot its deadline by two years and came to 30 million rupees ($479 million).
The metro was opened by Prithviraj Chavan, chief minister of Maharashtra state and a member of India's embattled ruling Congress party, which is trying to boost its standing and highlight its achievements ahead of general elections due by May.
Just last month, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh opened a swanky new air terminal in Mumbai, complete with a peacock-inspired design and huge art display, part of a lavish $2-billion airport revamp that also ran over budget and schedule.
The project faced various challenges including tight constraints on the site owing to tens of thousands of tightly-packed slum dwellings encroaching on the airport land.
A delayed metro system is also in the works to help decongest Mumbai's suburban roads.
comments powered by Disqus
Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami has deferred its Monday’s nationwide daylong hartal to Thursday due to the second phase of Biswa Ijtema and Saraswati Puja... Full story
Gana Forum on Saturday demanded early and inclusive national elections with the participation of all political parties. The national polls held on January 5 were not acceptable as most of the voters... Full story
Four convicts, including Jamaat-e-Islami amir and war crimes accused Matiur Rahman Nizami and former state minister for home affairs Lutfozzaman Babar, in the sensational 10-truck arms haul cases... Full story
The second phase of Biswa Ijtema, the second largest congregation of the Muslims after hajj, entered its 2nd day on Saturday with Islamic scholars from different countries delivering sermons on various aspects of Islam... Full story
Police in an overnight drive arrested 22 people for their suspected involvement in assaulting Awami League lawmaker Abu Reza M Nezamuddin in Lohagara upazila here on Friday night... Full story
Indian Border Security Force (BSF) members picked two Bangladeshi nationals from Kolmudanga border in Sapahar upazila on Saturday morning... Full story
An activist of Jamaat-e-Islami was wounded with bullets in a ‘gunfight’ between police and Jamaat-Shibir men at Maddhya Kanchona in Satkania upazila in Chittagong early Saturday... Full story
Nasrullah Shaji, naib-e-amir of Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) Pakistan chapter urged their prime minister Nawaz Sharif to take notice of massacre of Jamaat leaders and workers in Bangladesh for their love and loyalty for Pakistan... Full story
Fierce clashes between Huthi Shiite rebels and gunmen from the powerful Hashid tribe killed at least 60 people on Friday in northern Yemen, tribal sources... Full story
The authorities of Rajshahi University Saturday postponed their decision to hike tuition fees following a strong movement by the students... Full story
After two decades of election defeats, Thailand's oldest political party stands accused of turning its back on democracy by refusing to contest controversial elections to be held on Sunday... Full story
Furious tourism operators on the Great Barrier Reef on Saturday threatened legal action after approval was given to dump of up to three million cubic metres of dredge waste in park waters... Full story
India's financial capital unveiled its first monorail system on Saturday, a much-delayed project that aims to boost the city's creaking transport infrastructure and ease traffic on its notoriously congested roads... Full story
Ukraine's opposition leaders were set to meet US secretary of state John Kerry on Saturday, after the army urged embattled president Viktor Yanukovych to act urgently to end two months of turmoil... Full story