Work on the Rs 166-crore Kurla-Thane additional rail corridor—the project was launched 13 years ago — has come to a halt again.
This time, it is due to a petition objecting to the closing of a road to build the railway line. The project — the laying of two 17-km lines between Kurla and Thane was to be completed by January — could be delayed by a few months.
The matter was discussed at the Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP) review meeting held on Tuesday. “Relief and rehabilitation chief of MMRDA [Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority] AS Bidarkar has said he would do everything to solve the problem,” a senior official of the Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation said requesting anonymity.
A Vikhroli resident has approached the Bombay High Court challenging the Central Railway’s (CR) acquisition of a road near the railway station in 1995 for laying the fifth and sixth tracks. The petitioner said that the civic body should clear the adjacent road of encroachments before taking over this road and blocking access to the station.
The project has met with several hurdles mostly because of encroachments.
It was initially held up because residents of a few buildings in Ghatkopar coming in the way of the new tracks refused to move out of the suburb. A 10-storey building was built for them on a plot near Nath Pai Nagar. Next, fishermen from Vikhroli refused to move out unless they were rehabilitated. Four toilet blocks then came in the way near Mulund and Kanjurmarg creating further problems.
The project is a part of the World Bank-funded MUTP. It is divided into two phases. Phase 1 is a 10-km line from Kurla to Bhandup approved in 1995-1996 at a cost of Rs 102.9 crore. Phase 2 is a 7-km line between Bhandup and Thane. It was approved in 1997-1998 and will cost at least Rs 56.79 crore.
(Inputs from Shashank Rao)