The Central Railway (CR) will soon begin constructing two foot overbridges at Thane.
The work on the overbridges had been stuck in red tape because both the railways and the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) were at loggerheads over who should build them.
Currently, Thane station has two bridges that are 100 m in length. These overbridges are unable to meet the demands of the five-lakh daily commuters. Railway officials are expected to finish work on the two bridges, built at a cost of Rs 6 crore, by mid-2011.
“We have already paid CR the money and they can start building the overbridges,” said S Nandargikar, chief engineer, MMRDA.
The general manager of CR, Kul Bhushan, at a press conference on November 19, said they received money from the MMRDA around three days ago and will begin work soon. The work will be expedited after the Vikhroli incident on November 21, when three people died the level crossing, and protests disrupted train services for more than two hours.
CR will soon call tenders on the construction of the overbridges. “The MMRDA was earlier going to construct the overbridges, which were going to be connected to the skywalk at Thane (East). The skywalk was built, however, the MMRDA abandoned the plan to build the overbridges because they would then have to be constructed above the railway tracks which is not easy to do,” said a senior Central Railway official on condition of anonymity, as he is not authorised to speak to the media.
Therefore, the skywalk lies incomplete and unused because there is no exit point.
CR officials blame the MMRDA for this because the skywalk was built only after the MMRDA said they would build the overbridges.
However, the MMRDA refuse to take the blame. “The work of constructing an overbridge above the tracks lies with the railways.
“Therefore, there is no point in blaming us for not constructing the bridges,” said a senior MMRDA official, on condition of anonymity as he is not authorised to speak to the media.