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Skybus project faces delay

April 11, 2005 15:45 IST

Goa's skybus project -- one of the country's eagerly awaited mode of transportation -- faces delay over the issue of safety certification.

The unique design of the skybus has put officials in a quandary over whether it can be included under the Railways Act.

The skybus is cited by the Konkan Railways Corporation Limited to be one of the cheapest and fastest forms of urban transportation.

"We feel that skybus can be certified by the railways but the matter has been referred to the Urban Development Ministry. The ministry set up the Indreshan Committee to look into the matter," KRCL Managing Director K K Gokhale said in Panaji.

Adding to the delay is the fact that the Indreshan Committee's sanction expired last month and it has asked the prime minister's office to give it an extension.

"When we get our safety certification is anyone's guess. Many cities like Pune, Jaipur and Chandigarh have expressed interest in setting up the skybus system," Gokhale said.

KRCL had conducted a test trial of the skybus last September but a freak accident a month after that, which killed one engineer and injured three, led to the delay in the certification.

Former KRCL managing director B Rajaram had said the skybus system was similar to railways and hence should be awarded certification by the railways itself.

"If the skybus project gets going, then we can break even in terms of revenue within the next five years. In fact, we have even got offers from foreign companies stating that they are willing to finance the project once the certification comes through," Gokhale added.

KRCL, which has invested Rs 50 crore developing a prototype of the skybus, is not the only interested party in moving the project quickly. Thirty-four private firms, including Larsen and Toubro and Bajaj Electrical, which have a financial stake in the project, are also being made to wait.

The skybus needs no land space as it runs on rails built below a bridge or a flyover. The bogey is suspended from the rails at a minimum height of five feet from ground level.


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