With a crucial obstacle out of the way, it appears the Metro 2 project may finally get off the ground after being on paper for over five years.
The project had so far failed to take off mainly because of difficulties in getting Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) clearances for the plots in Charkop and Mankhurd on which depots were to be built.
Now, the urban planning body Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) has found land in Mankhurd on which a depot can be built without the requirement of green clearances.
Now, MMRDA has identified government land in Mandala village for the depot.
“As the land in Mandala does not need any kind of green clearance, a metro depot can be constructed without any difficulty,” said MMRDA commissioner UPS Madan. “We have asked the state government to hand over the land to us.”
As for the land in Charkop, Madan said that green clearances may be obtained soon following a recent assurance from Union minister Prakash Javadekar.
The lack of land was one of the main reasons why the Reliance Infra-headed consortium did not develop the elevated Charkop-Bandra-Mankhurd (CBM) Metro corridor, despite being awarded the contract for the same nearly five years ago.
The Union environment ministry had refused permission to construct depots in Charkop and Mankhurd fearing they would cause damage to mangroves in the area by releasing polluted sewage water.
With the issue unresolved, the contract was expected to be terminated soon and MMRDA had started the procedure to invite fresh tenders for the project.
The development body has already prepared a fresh plan to construct the Metro corridor fully underground, and even extend it to Dahisar.
“We are going to put the new proposal before our authority meeting next week to get its approval,” Madan said.
If the chief minister-headed authority approves, the proposal will be sent to the Union government as the project is set to be developed on cash contract with the help of a loan from either Japanese Bank or World Bank.
Both the central and state governments are expected to give financial assistance to the project.