Officials of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) are in a Catch-22 situation: they have claimed that the performance of Scomi Engineering, the contractor responsible for operation and maintenance (O&M) of the monorail, has been poor, but the authority might have to continue taking its help despite the contract ending in 2017 due to ‘technical challenges’ and ‘patent-related issues’.
Senior MMRDA officials claim there is a certain software to which only Scomi has access. It fears that if another O&M contractor is appointed, operations might become more challenging. “There are codes to which only Scomi has access and we doubt a newly appointed contractor would be given access to them,” said a senior MMRDA official.
Also, the MMRDA has claimed Scomi is running at losses, but when asked why it had not sought to buy out the monorail or ask Scomi to sell out the O&M contract, the official replied, “There wouldn’t be legal challenges, but technical issues related to patents of the software would arise. One cannot ask the new O&M contractor to function efficiently without ample technical information being shared. It could be a disaster.”
The MMRDA has claimed it is losing Rs 10 lakh each day due to fares not being increased. The official said a single monorail coach costs Rs 10 crore and a complete rolling stock with four coaches costs around Rs 40 crore and with it goes crores in its maintenance.
Meanwhile, officials are confident about appointing an independent engineer who will inspect the civil work and issue a safety certificate for the second phase within three to four months and commission the project.