Indias first monorail to come up in Kolkata

Written by Economy Bureau | Kolkata, Nov 21 | Updated: Nov 22 2008, 05:35am hrs
Kolkata-based Andromeda Technologies Pvt Ltd, which is into monorail technologies, is going to set up Indias first monorail in Kolkata. Construction of the 20-km stretch will commence in March 2009 and take two years to complete.

The company has got enquiries from Bangladesh and other parts of India, such as Delhi, Pune, Patna, Bhubaneswar and Guwahati, to start monorails.

The West Bengal government has given us permission to start a monorail that will cover a stretch of 20 kms from Budge Budge to Taratala. The monorail, which will have four coaches, each with its own electric generator and the capacity to accommodate 150 passengers, will be of hybrid technology, said Andromeda chairman PC Sen. He was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the Biz Bridge seminar organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry.

On the financials, Sen said, It will involve a cost of around Rs 1,200 crore, out of which the debt component will make up Rs 1,000 crore, from non-resident Indians, and Rs 200 crore the equity component, which is expected by the end of December from a foreign partner. He declined to divulge details of the debt and equity partners.

Derap AG and Helbing Tecknik AG of Switzerland are the technical partners of Andromeda in this monorail venture. The 20-km stretch could be later extended up to 52 kms, according to Sen.

To start with, we are using LPG, but we would like it to run on hydrogen gas in the future. There are also plans to put solar cells on the rooftops, but lets see what happens, he said.

The first six to 12 coaches of the monorail will come from Germany, where they will be manufactured. After these, coaches will be made indigenously. We have talked to Titagarh Wagons about the coach manufacturing, and they are ready. We will now approach Texmaco, Sen said.

He said the government would decide the price of tickets. They could be priced at Rs 1.50 a km.

Monorails run in Europe, Japan, China, Australia and America, among other places.