In the latest addition to the series of obstacles facing the ambitious 32-km metro route connecting Charkop, Bandra and Mankhurd, the civil aviation authorities have objected to the height of the elevated section at the 1-km Vile Parle–Nanavati hospital stretch in the western suburbs.
The Airports Authority of India (AAI) has communicated to the nodal agency, Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), that the nine-metre-high elevated corridor is unacceptable as it will obstruct the flight path of aircraft at Juhu airport.
Following this, the state government has verbally requested the contractor, Reliance Infrastructure, to terminate plans for building the elevated line. “The elevated project will not go ahead as the AAI is insistent that the metro line affects flight path. We have asked Reliance to either create an underground metro or think about constructing it along the road,” said a senior official involved with the project.
Metropolitan commissioner Rahul Asthana, however, said there are no plans by the agency to build an underground line from Vile Parle to Nanavati hospital, which will add Rs750 crore to the construction cost. According to R-Infra’s current estimates, the 32-km line will cost Rs11,500 crore.
The development shows flawed planning on part of MMRDA officials, who were unaware about the problems an elevated metro will create near an airport till the AAI took exception.
Interestingly, residents of Juhu Vile Parle Development Scheme have also been demanding an underground metro line, but the state had claimed that the three-fold cost escalation, from Rs250 to Rs750 crore per kilometer, is unfeasible.