Mumbai: The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) has to pay a higher trip rate for operating the country’s monorail corridor. When next month its services resume, MMRDA will also have to bear with another huge expenditure so that they can provide security for the 8.9-km corridor.
The Right to Information Act, 2005, informs that MMRDA had to shell out more money on the corridor’s security than the revenue it rakes in from the service. In the first six months of the 2017-18 fiscal, when the monorail was operational, the revenue generated was a mere 62% of the expenditure borne by MMRDA for security.
A senior official said that between 2014 and 2016, the MSSC had deployed 331 security personnel at stations and the depot. The deployment was reduced to 243 personnel from July 2016. It was done to reduce the expenses incurred on security. We did not need so many people and we saved around Rs 2 crore.
The official also said that apart from MSSC, the MMRDA is also paying a private agency for maintaining a dog squad, which reportedly generates a bill of at least Rs 24 lakh per annum. “We have been paying the agency Rs 24 lakh since 2014 and are still paying them even when the services have been suspended.
Some other MMRDA official said that the monorail corridor is provided with heavy security as it is considered vulnerable to threats. The Intelligence Bureau had conducted a security audit of the entire corridor earlier this year.
The former general manager of Central Railway, Subodh Jain in his recent report has recommended that security personnel should be deployed in two shifts instead of the existing three to cut costs.
He further added that instead of having three eight-hour shifts, we can have two 12-hour shifts and pay the staff for overtime. Also, there is a need to cap the maximum staff, including security, at any station to 50 personnel.
MMRDA is finding it’s hard to cope because the expenses incurred for the operation and maintenance (O&M) of the monorail have gradually increased since its launch. In 2014-2015 MMRDA was able to cover 38 percent of its expenses with its total income; it could only able to pay for 30 percent of its expenses in 2016-2017. The O&M payments increased to Rs 13.8 crore in 2016-17 from Rs 10.8 crore in 2014-15 whereas the revenue decreased to Rs 4.12 crore from Rs 4.18 crore in the corresponding period.