When former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh laid the foundation stone for Metro One project in June 2006, Mumbaiites had expected to ride on the Metro in the next two-three years. However, they had to wait for almost eight years to see city's first Metro roll.
Reliance Infra-led Mumbai Metro One Pvt Ltd (MMOPL) was awarded the contract for developing the 11.4-km Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar (VAG) corridor in 2007.
The actual construction began in 2008, and the corridor was supposed to be operational by 2010-end, according to the original deadline. However, the project missed 10 deadlines, marred by several reasons that led to the delay.
The main reason was the unavailability of land for construction of the Metro corridor.
Although Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), the nodal agency for the project, was supposed to make 59% of land available to developer MMOPL, it could hand over not more than 45% when actual construction was started.
MMRDA could manage to make available the entire land needed for the project to MMOPL only in 2012. Issues with removal of encroachments and religious structures also stalled the construction progress at several locations.
In addition, unavailability or poor records of underground utilities forced MMOPL to change the design of the corridor on numerous occasions, which added to the delay significantly.
While the time taken in getting various clearances contributed to missed deadlines, the slow pace of civil construction by MMOPL is also to blame. Although the safety certification process took significant time, MMOPL also failed to construct the corridor, especially the Metro stations, on time.
The no-objection certificate for a few stations from the fire department was delayed after authorities could not acquire land to construct staircases.
Meanwhile, Ghatkopar police on Saturday detained MPs Gopal Shetty and Kirit Somaiya for protesting outside Ghatkopar Metro station. Senior inspector Rajaram Vhanmane said the two were detained and released immediately.