With the approval for a Metro line to connect Thane, Bhiwandi and Kalyan and the proposal to extend connectivity to Mira-Bhayander through Dahisar, the state and Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) plan to expand the Metro network across the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR).
The chief minister-led authority approved the detailed project reports for a 14.5-km long Lokhandwala-Jogeshwari-Vikhroli-Kanjurmarg and Thane-Bhiwandi-Kalyan routes on Wednesday.
Connectivity between Thane, Bhiwandi and Kalyan was originally planned a decade ago as a monorail corridor.
However, the project was shelved years later, citing lack of sufficient ridership. The Metro will offer an additional mass transport option, in addition to the suburban railway network. It will also spur growth in areas such as Bhiwandi.
Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis has planned a new commercial hub near Kalyan, on the lines of Bandra-Kurla Complex. “It took eight years for the previous government to approve a Metro rail network of 10km in Mumbai. We approved a Metro network, which is 13 times more extensive, in just two years,” said Fadnavis.
The two Metro rail projects are proposed to be elevated and are estimated to be completed in four years. The projects are proposed to be constructed on a cash-contract model. The projects will now be placed before the state cabinet for approval.
Soon after taking over as chief minister, Fadnavis had set a target of a Metro rail network of over a 100km in Mumbai. Currently, Mumbai has only an 11.4-km Metro corridor from Versova to Ghatkopar. Over the past two years, the Fadnavis-led MMRDA revamped the erstwhile Congress-NCP government’s Metro masterplan for Mumbai, converting most lines to elevated from underground for speedy implementation, and also planned new ones.
Kicking off a much-deliberated idea of covering Mumbai with wireless Internet connectivity, Fadnavis sanctioned Rs194 crore to set up 500 WiFi hotspots in Mumbai in the first phase.
“The on-ground work of identifying 500 WiFi hotspots in the first phase in the city will be carried out by the Maharashtra Information and Technology Corporation under the aegis of the Directorate of Information and Technology,” an MMRDA official said.
Overall, the state government plans to have 1,200 WiFi hotspots across Mumbai.
Besides, the MMRDA also approved widening of a rail overbridge in Kopri, Thane to eight lanes, from the current four lanes, at an estimated cost of Rs259 crore. Fadnavis said the authority will also see completion of the much-delayed Surya water supply scheme, which will augment availability of water in Mira-Bhayander and Vasai-Virar by 2020. The MMRDA, which has invited tenders for the project, sanctioned Rs1,978 crore for the project.