Mon, 08 Feb 2010 12:30:59 GMT

How Ajmal Kasab impacts Mumbai's monorail

Mumbai: Mumbai monorail's cost is to increase owing to Mumbai terror attack Ajmal Kasab's security reasons. Almost Rs 44 crore will be overspent to redo the monorail plans for the 720 metre stretch along Arthur Road jail, reported a leading national daily this morning. Kasab is currently imprisoned in Arthur Road jail.

While no official estimate is being given for how much the monorail's cost will increase, an engineer for the company building the track revealed that the cost along the stretch could rise by as much as 45 per cent to 50 per cent.

Roughly, if building 1km of monorail track costs around Rs 123 crore, then 720m would cost around Rs 88 crore. This means the Arthur Road jail stretch from Arthur Road police chowky to Ganacharya Square along Sane Guruji Road would cost around Rs 39 crore to Rs 44 crore more.

The cost of keeping Kasab alive had already surpassed Rs 30 crore by the first anniversary of the 26/11 tragedy. Planning the Mumbai monorail stretch again will only be an addition to the overall expense.

Maharashtra government has so far spent a staggering Rs 31 crore, or nearly Rs 8.5 lakh per day, to keep the 21-year-old terrorist from the Pakistani town of Faridkot safe and secure enough to stand trial.

"The state's debt has crossed the Rs 1.85 lakh crore mark. But of course, where security of the state and the country is concerned, we don't discuss the financial situation,'' a senior government official said.

The Rs 31 crore figure is strictly unofficial since the government is wary of letting out any information on Kasab.

The official said, post the attack, following the directives of the Centre, besides procuring weapons for emergency use, vehicles and equipment, two special cells were created inside Arthur Road jail and JJ hospital.

"There was a huge expenditure on the construction of a special cell inside the high-security Arthur Road jail. It has been designed in such a manner that even if a truck laden with explosives were to ram into it, the cell would not be dented. Such safeguards are essential to protect Kasab's life - and to establish Pakistan's involvement in the attack,'' he said.

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