Prime Minister Narendra Modi will lay the foundation stone of Metro 2B and 4 on December 10 in Mumbai. The bhoomipujan of the Shivaji statue in Arabian Sea and the inauguration of a gallery of cartoons drawn by RK Laxman at JJ School of Arts have been deferred as the projects are still to be completed.
The two Metro corridors are being launched weeks before the code of conduct for the Mumbai civic elections is expected to be announced in a month. According to insiders, the Bhartiya Janata Party-led state government wants to grab credit for the launch of the corridors by the PM.
The Rs10,986-crore Metro-2B corridor between DN Nagar and Mankhurd will have 22 stations and cover 23.5 km. The Rs14,549 crore Metro 4 corridor between Wadala and Kasarvadavli in Thane is the longest Metro corridor in MMR and will cover 32 stations covering 32 km. Of the five corridors approved by the cabinet, the two to be launched by the PM this month are the last to begin.
The five corridors with the cost of Rs 61,289 will add to the 124-km Metro network in Mumbai and Thane and are estimated to be completed by 2021. The construction work of the two corridors- 2A and 7- for which the PM laid a foundation stone in October 2015 is underway in the western suburbs.
Though the state government wanted the bhoomipujan for the Shivaji memorial to be performed simultaneously, it has been deferred due to a delay in completion of the bidding process. “We have completed pre-bidding qualification meetings and will complete the technical and commercial bidding by January-end. We have received very good response from the global bidders. Our endeavour would be to launch it before the code of conduct is announced,” said Vinayak Mete, head of the committee overlooking the project.
The Prime Minister’s office had also inquired if the inauguration of the gallery of cartoons drawn by legendary cartoonist RK Laxman would be ready for inauguration by the PM. The higher and technical departments of the state government has informed that the gallery would not be ready before March 2017. The gallery is part of the Kipling Bungalow, which is under restoration, and will house landmark cartoons by Laxman. The bungalow in the JJ School of Art campus is being restored and will be thrown open for the tourists in the memory of novelist Joseph Rudyard Kipling who had lived in the building.