The construction of the 146.5 km Metro network in Mumbai could come to a halt.
The Central Government has passed the Delhi Metro Railways (Amendment) Bill, 2009, to amend the Delhi Metro (Operation & Maintenance) Act, 2002, and the Metro Railways (Construction of Works) Act, 1978.
The Bill allows the railways to take complete control over the planning, construction and functioning of Metro projects in the state.
This means that the railways will take control of the Mumbai Metro project and not the state government and Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority.
The work on the Mumbai Metro project is being regulated under the Bombay Tramway Act, 1874, which allows the state to plan and construct a Metro line as per its own discretion.
“This amendment will allow the railways to appoint its own general manager for the functioning of the Metro. Why should the railways control the project when they are not spending a penny on it?” asked a senior MMRDA official.
The state government has written to the Prime Minister’s Office opposing the decision.
“The chief minister has expressed his displeasure over this move by the Centre. The state government has requested the Centre to hold this Act in abeyance till we don’t find a middle ground to solve this problem,” a senior state official said.
The Maharashtra government began planning the Mumbai Metro as an alternative mass transit system since the late 1990s, when overcrowding on the trains began to get unmanageable.