For a city that’s always in a hurry, projects that would help it speed up take a long time.
After a 30-month delay, the foundation stone for Mumbai’s second Metro line — the 32-km Charkop-Bandra-Mankhurd line — will be laid on Tuesday by President Pratibha Patil.
But it’s just a pre-election political exercise. Actual work on the line will not begin for another nine months as all clearances are not in place.
The longest of the nine Metro lines planned for the city, it’s almost twice as long as the Kolkata Metro (16.45 km) and is expected to ferry 13 lakh Mumbaiites a day from Charkop to Mankhurd — that’s three times the number of commuters on Kolkata Metro (4.25 lakh). The three Delhi Metro lines ferry 9.92 lakh people a day.
The Charkop-Mankhurd line was among the three routes to be ready by 2011, but its deadline has been pushed to 2015.
The project has been marred by citizens’ protests and corporate intrigue, all adding to the delay of a route that’s not directly linked by the over-burdened railway network. It’s expected to cut travel time to 25 minutes; currently it takes between one-and-a-half to two hours.
“The project was held up due to procedural issues. We are keen on ensuring its completion on time,” MMRDA spokesperson Dilip Kawathkar said.
That’s if protesting citizens don’t take the matter to court.