In a move that leaves little room for further discussion, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), much to the dismay of activists, has issued a public notice saying, “an underground Metro is neither technically feasible nor financially viable".
The MMRDA, in a public appeal issued in newspapers on Monday, blamed a "small group of influential people" of opposing the project and said that the masses, for which it was being built, supported the project.
There has been a running feud between the MMRDA and 21 citizens group over the alignment of the 32-km Charkop-Bandra-Mankhurd line. The former are demanding that the authority scrap the plan for constructing elevated Metro corridors in the area. They have also filed public interest litigations in the court.
The MMRDA has decided to go ahead with its plan. "The proposal of the partially underground metro is neither technically feasible nor financially viable. It would delay the project by several years. The metro may never materialise," the MMRDA notice said.
The authority said the present cost of the metro line is Rs 8,250 crore, which will be built by Reliance Infrastructure. However, it will cost Rs 5,000 crore more if an underground line was built.
"Any infrastructure project in congested urban environment is bound to inconvenience a few, but it ultimately benefits the entire city population," the appeal stated.
Nitin Killawala, managing committee member of JVPD Association, said: “In our last meeting, the MMRDA commissioner had accepted that an underground Metro was the best option. We have tried our best to convince the authorities, but I guess our last recourse will be the courts.”