The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) may have announced that the city’s first Metro line — the Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar (VAG) route — will be ready by June 2011, but experts rubbish the claim.
The new June 2011 date is one year ahead of the original deadline.
Hindustan Times asked two independent architects — Nitin Killawala and Jagdeep Desai — to assess the planning body’s claims, and both said the project would in all likelihood miss the June 2011 deadline.
According to the MMRDA, 68% of the work is complete for the 11-km line. At least 83% of the piling work is done and 63% of the columns have been built. But that does not mean much, said Killawala.
“Piling work is what happens underground, for a column to be erected on it. All this work should have happened at least a year ago, if the Metro were to be completed in June 2011,” he said.
Desai agrees: “Their own figures say that almost 40% of the columns have not been erected. Further, 17% of the piling work for the columns is not done. How then does the MMRDA expect to complete the line by June?”
The planning body has said that 70% of the columns at 12 stations have been completed. “Again, this implies that 30% of the basic columns are not built,” said Desai.
The fire department’s No Objection Certificate for the project shows a total built-up area of 99,000 square metres for the stations and the yard. “How can an agency construct a built-up area of 99,000 square metres in such a short span? According to me, it is next to impossible,” said Killawala.
The MMRDA has said that except for one station, the remaining 11 stations will be ready by end of April next year.
The project has also faced a setback, with the Western Railway refusing to stop trains for four hours a day for 57 days so that Metro work connecting the east and west sides of Andheri, over the railway tracks, can be done.
Desai said “it does not look convincing” that 68% of the project is complete. “The state of affairs seems poor,” he added. Killawala shares the same opinion.
“The figures depict a sad story. The MMRDA’s arrogance is unnecessary. They should try sticking to the original deadline.”
MMRDA spokesperson Dilip Kawathkar said: “We had a meeting with Mumbai Metro One Pvt Ltd and they gave us a detailed presentation on the status of the work. So we are confident that we will meet the June 2011 deadline.”