Mumbai: While the second phase of monorail between Wadala and Jacob Circle in Mahalaxmi is yet to be commissioned, documents accessed by The Asian Age through the Right To Information (RTI) Act raises questions related to fire safety in the second phase of India’s sole monorail corridor. The Mumbai Fire Brigade, in a communication sent to MMRDA, has revealed that in case of a fire emergency, it will take considerable time to carry out a fire fighting and rescue operation, which may result in high life and property loss.
The communication reads, “The route of monorail is mostly running between the congested areas having marginal space between the adjoining structures and stations. As the platforms and elevated guide beam (train way) are comparatively less easily accessible to the fire engines and other vehicles considering the traffic congestion on the road. Also, the guide beam is only accessible aerially from the road with (the) help of ladders. It will take considerable time to respond (via) fire fighting and may result in high life and property loss.”
The MMRDA aims to commission the second phase of monorail in mid 2017. While, the first phase between Chembur and Wadala was commissioned in 2014, on several occasions, MMRDA has agreed that it is facing losses. This is because the first phase does not pass through densely populated areas. MMRDA has cited that there will be fewer losses in the second phase as it passes through densely populated areas like Dadar, Currey Road, Lower Parel, Mahalaxmi.
Meanwhile, Sanjay Khandare, additional metropolitan commissioner, MMRDA, said, "The procedure for fire NOC of a few monorail stations of the second phase is pending and everything would be looked into by the time it is commissioned."
Ever since phase 1 of the monorail was commissioned, its operations have constantly been in the news over constant breakdowns of velocity joints and the doors of coaches opening out of turn. In 2014, power outages were reported at a fertiliser township station, which had resulted in a power cable being burnt. In 2016, the monorail was in the news for two separate incidents, for a tyre burst and tyre detachment after a rolling stock had developed a technical snag.