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Mumbai Metro reality check

mumbai Updated: Oct 31, 2010 01:22 IST
Hindustan Times
Mumbai Metro

Is the Mumbai Metro another Commonwealth Games in the making? Between 2004 and 2009, and with costs rising from Rs 19,500 crore to Rs 47,500 crore, what does the MMRDA have to show? Not a single station, not a single track.
The MMRDA has shown no accountability towards costs, nor any commitment in terms of time. Here some facts about the Versova-Ghatkopar elevated Metro stretch: There are 12 stations planned, of which construction of only two stations has reached up to slab levels.
There is no clarity about the Metro bridge over the Andheri rail tracks. The work on just two columns of the Metro bridge over the Andheri flyover is going on for the past 12 months. MMRDA does not have access to at least 3 km (out of 11.8 km) because of congested roads, litigation issues and unmapped utilities.
Clearly, this route cannot be completed before 2018. MMRDA’s claim to complete the project before 2010 (now March 2011) is a hoax.

An underground Metro is what we need
The Metro is planned on the only arterial roads connecting the suburbs to the island city. These roads are narrow and congested.
MMRDA is planning a commercial complex of 44,000 sq ft over each of the stations, which will be at a distance of every 1 km and in the middle of these roads.
More than 1 lakh sq ft of footpaths will be taken over to accommodate stairs, escalators and elevators apart from hundreds of BEST bus stops.
Given the situation, an underground Metro for the Charkop-Bandra-Mankhurd route is the best way to go.

Legal tangles
The entire project is sanctioned on the pretext of constructing tramways because under the old Tramways Act the government can construct tramways in the middle of road, without permission of the railway ministry under the central government.
The Kolkata and Delhi Metros operate under Indian Metro Rail Act. Where’s ours?

Discriminating against the 'burbs
The underground Metro is built on an advanced tunnel technology, which runs at least 40 feet below the ground so as to not disturb existing utilities.
The MMRDA is constructing underground lines under the Bombay High Court, Oval Maidan and Crawford Market. Why is there a different policy for the suburbs?
(Sherley Singh is an activist and Juhu resident)