Saturday, May 17, 2008

Lalu wants monorail for Patna

Kuala Lumpur (PTI): A trip in the monorail and zipping over the crowded streets here on elevated tracks has convinced visiting Railway Minister Lalu Prasad that India, especially, the capital of his home state Bihar, needs such an advanced transportation facility.

"Patna is the best place for monorail," he told a press conference here on Friday.

I have chosen Patna because of its congested roads, Lalu, who is on a three-day visit to Malaysia, said.

The minister said he had already asked Indian company IRCON to get all details about the monorail system from its Malaysian manufacturers Scomi.

An IRCON official added that though monorail was part of the urban transport system which came under various state governments, the minister had taken initiative on his own choosing Patna as one of the cities for it.

"I am impressed with the monorail. It can be emulated in India and we will soon initiate discussions with Malaysia," Lalu said after witnessing the signing of the USD one billion contract between IRCON and the Malaysian government to build double tracking system between the Seremban-Gemas sectors.

Scomi, which is currently testing its new generation coaches, had a brief power-point presentation for the minister and his high level delegation on Thursday.

The company, which is partly owned by Malaysian premier Abdullah Badawi's son Kamaluddin, is already bidding for a project to set up monorail in Mumbai.

Group Ceo of Scomi Shah Hakim Zain said each new generation car would be able to carry 125 passengers and each train would have four to six cars.