The Charkop-Bandra-Mankhurd metro line will make travel easier for 22 lakh commuters. But chief minister Prithiviraj Chavan's indecision on policy decisions has delayed the project by nearly three years. The bids are in, but the work hasn't started yet.
The CM has now called for a review of the elevated metro line.
He had on June 12 suggested an underground line in the place of an elevated metro after visiting the sites of the Versova-Ghatkopar-Andheri metro, during an inspection of the city's ongoing infrastructure projects. He was put off by what he saw, and irked that the Ghatkopar station was uncomfortably close to nearby residential buildings. But he is dithering on the decision to cancel Reliance Infrastructure's contract for the 32-km line, awarded to it in May 2009.
The project got stuck after it was found out that the depot land at Charkop and Mankhurd fell in the CRZ area. The environment ministry had then refused to give permission for the depot. After much cajoling, the ministry gave conditional clearance, which was then deemed insufficient for the project.
The MMRDA then pitched for an alternate piece of land adjoining the Charkop depot plot. But the state shot this proposal down, claiming the land was allotted to several private trusts including the trust of former chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, and for proposed residential quarters of government officials.
"The land has been allotted following the due course of law. We can't just take it back after it has been allotted," Chavan said.
The CM then called for a new piece of land located at Pahadi village near Goregaon. But this land is privately owned. The state is planning to get into negotiations with the owner.
The CM on May 31 also shot off a letter to the environment minister Jayanthi Natarajan asking her to relax CRZ norms to allow metro depots to come up.
"I seek your kind intervention for relaxation of the conditions as requested by us. This will help enable the state government to fulfil its contractual obligations," the letter, of which HT has a copy, states.
"We have only heard about policy paralysis in Delhi but we are actually witnessing the same in our own state," a senior MMRDA official said.