Residents from across the western suburbs, who are likely to get affected by the Metro rail project, have joined hands to form an umbrella organisation — Movement for Underground Metro (MUM) — to fight for their cause.
The movement will bring together all people affected by the elevated Metro rail planned on the Charkop-Bandra-Mankhurd route by the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Devel-opment Authority (MMRDA).
The organisation includes residents’ associations of Bandra and Khar, shopkeepers from Linking Road, and residents of Juhu, Andheri and Versova. Speaking about the initiative, Darryl D’Monte, chairperson of the Bandra West Residents Association (BWRA), said, “This umbrella body will be a common platform for all organisations demanding an underground Metro, irrespective of the location that they hail from.”
Aftab Siddiqui, head, Linking Road Residents Association, said, “All of us have a common aim, which is to oppose the elevated Metro that the MMRDA is thrusting upon us. We had held a review meeting where we decided that all of us should get together in our opposition to the elevated Metro.”
Juhu activist Sherley Singh echoed the views. “All of us realise that we are against such forces, that the only way to win would be to bring together all our resources and fight for our demands,” said Singh.
The residents have been protesting against the MMRDA’s plans to build an elevated 32-km long Metro route, joining Charkop to Mankhurd, through Bandra. The route passes through parts of Juhu, the congested Linking Road at Santacruz, Khar and Bandra.
“The authorities need to realise that it’s not aesthetics or privacy that we are fighting for. They can’t possibly build a 90-feet wide overhead Metro on an 80-feet wide arterial road. Instead, building an underground Metro, 40 feet below the ground would benefit all parties involved,” added Singh.
The MMRDA, however, has been opposing the underground Metro, citing cost factors. Building an underground line would cost an additional Rs 56,000 crore and the state coffers would not be able to “withstand this pressure”, MMRDA chief Ratnakar Gaikwad had told Hindustan Times earlier.