The Mumbai Metro will start operations by the end of 2012, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) has reportedly said.

The opening of the 19.54km corridor between Jacob Circle to Chembur in Mumbai some time later this year will announce the arrival of monorail in the country. The monorail is an extremely popular transport mode across the world for several years. But it is only now that many Indian cities are weighing it as a sustainable transport system in some of their busiest and congest parts.

While almost 20 Indian cities, including Delhi, Bangalore, Pune, Hyderabad, Kochi, Kozhikode, Chennai, Indore and Lucknow, have been toying with this idea, it is the financial capital that has taken the lead.

Travellers taking flights to Mumbai will soon be able to travel the city and get great views at the same time as it is poised to open its new monorail service. It is assumed the monorail will be the better option for tourists after their flight to Mumbai, to travel to their hotels and around Mumbai by the monorail.

A 19.5 km corridor of the new monorail network is due to open in the city between Jacob Circle to Chembur, with the service set to open later this year.

Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority(MMRDA) have announced the monorail will be split into two parts, with the Jacob Circle to Wadala section to open in the summer months, followed by the Wadala to Chembur by the end of the year.

The 20-odd kilometre corridor, which runs through the city’s most congested parts, is being taken up in two sections. The 11.28km Jacob Circle – Wadala section is likely to open first — some time in mid-2012.

Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) officials believe the second section from Wadala to Chembur would also become operational by the end of the year.

“While Mumbai’s local train is the backbone of the city’s transport system and buses cater to areas where the local train is not available, Monorail and Metro will further strengthen the city’s public transport system,” a MMRDA official said.

The original deadline for the project was August 2012, but ‘due to delays in getting right of work (ROW) permits from the government and other clearances for the project’, the project will eventually see operations by the end of this year.

As per the current status update, 85 % of civil work is complete, which includes 100 % of viaduct piling works and 91% U-Girders cast completed, which includes stations and depots, a Mumbai Metro One Private Limited (MMOPL) official said.

Speaking to, Dilip Kawatkar, Joint Project Director (PR), MMRDA said:

“There were some issues related to ROW, but it has been taken care. Due to this, we will be extending the construction concession period for the project by five months and might extend the deadline to December 2012 from the previous deadline of August 2012.”

The first line is developed by MMOPL, a consortium formed by Reliance Energy Ltd with 69 % stake, Veolia Transport with 5 % stake and the balance stake of 26 % with the MMRDA.

The consortium have invested $500 million in developing the line which will have standard gauge track.

The line will have 12 stations on the VAG route starting from Versova, D N Nagar, Azad Nagar, Andheri, WEH, Chakala, Airport Road, Marol, Saki Naka, Subhash Nagar, Asalpha and Ghatkopar.

Soon people already living in the city and tourists arriving into the city from their flight to Mumbai will be able to travel around Mumbai by monorail as the arrival of a new route is announced.