The Prime Minister, Mr Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, announced yesterday the restructuration of the National Transport Authority and the setting up of a new unit to regulate rail functions in Mauritius. The appropriate bills will be presented in the National Assembly in March next year, he said.
In an address at the signature ceremony of a contract for Operation Readiness Services (ORS) with Metro Express Ltd at the New Treasury Building in Port Louis, the Prime Minister pointed out that the Attorney General’s Office, in consultation with the Ministry of Public Infrastructure and Land Transport and with the assistance of Singapore Corporation Enterprise (SCE) is working on a Rail legislation and subsidiary legislations within which Metro Express will operate.
The Singapore High Commissioner to Mauritius, Mr R. Jayachandran; the Minister of Public Infrastructure and Land Transport, Mr Nandcomar Bodha; the Chief Executive Officer of SCE; Mr Kong Wy Mun, and other eminent personalities were present at the signature ceremony.
With regard to the need for a local operations team that is well trained and ready to operate the Metro Express safely and efficiently, the Prime Minister expressed satisfaction that the SCE/SMRT is being entrusted with the responsibility to set up the operations structure at Metro Express Ltd. SCE/SMRT will have to put together and capacitate the operations team, draft operating procedures including emergency response procedures, support the testing, commissioning as well as safety certification of the Light Rail Vehicles and accompany MEL in the operations phase until the local team is ready to take over.
The Prime Minister recalled that the bidding process for procuring the Operations Readiness Services was done under the G to G agreements between Mauritius and India and between Mauritius and Singapore. Evaluation of the bids, he pointed out, was carried out by a team of professionals from MEL and MPI and that process led to SCE/SMRT being selected, both on the technical and financial criteria. The team of SMRT mobilised under the contract will launch the recruitment exercise for train captains, engineers and technicians, train and station inspectors and supervisors, as well as security personnel.
Mr Jugnauth rejoiced at the numerous infrastructural projects being carried out in Mauritius adding that the whole transport landscape of Mauritius is in the process of being transformed.
“The expected transformation will be the harbinger of another wave of socio-economic development that will propel Mauritius towards the league of inclusive high income economies, bringing significant improvement in the quality of life of the population”, he said.
The Prime Minister reiterated Government’s efforts to propel Mauritius in the Fourth Industrial Revolution where digitisation, Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain and other technologies will pervade all aspects of life, raising the nation’s productivity, and unfolding a modern and sophisticated Mauritius for the youth and future generations.
For his part, the Minister of Public Infrastructure and Land Transport, Mr Nandcoomar Bodha, underlined that the Metro Express project has reached a crucial stage in its implementation process adding that works are being undertaken at 30 different sites. He stated that, in the wake of the Metro Express project, the need for modern, safe, secure and integrated urban terminals has become imperative. On that score Government has decided to embark on the redevelopment and modernisation of urban terminals along the Port Louis-Curepipe corridor namely the Victoria and Immigration Square terminals in Port Louis, Place Margéot in Rose-Hill, Quatre Bornes, Vacoas and Ian Palach in Curepipe.
The Singapore High Commissioner to Mauritius, Mr R. Jayachandran, outlined the close and longstanding relations with Mauritius recalling that the two countries have been collaborating on several projects under G to G agreement. These include: water management, renewable energy, sustainable development, training and capacity building, and public sector and parastatal reforms.
Operation Readiness Services
The contract for ORS has been awarded to SCE to the tune of Rs 241 million. The ORS team will ensure that MEL is ready to operate the Mauritius Light Rail System as from September 2019 along the corridor Rose Hill to Port Louis. It will assist MEL to set up the organisation structure for the operation and maintenance of the Light Rail System, and empower the team of MEL to operate the system and undertake the first level routine maintenance of the Light Rail Vehicles and Systems.
The Metro Express will be capable of transporting more than 8,000 passengers per hour. Commuters can expect a short waiting time of up to between 5 to 6 minutes for a train during peak hours. The Metro Express service is planned to start running before 5 a.m. and stop at 10 pm. Rail services will be able to run for longer hours at times of special events, allowing the public to commute safely and reliably to and from their leisure activities.
Source: Government of Mauritius