If the proposal to open up the city’s port land shapes up as planned, the city would not just get more public amenities and open spaces but could also benefit from major transport projects.
The Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (MMRDA) has proposed several projects, including a Metro line, through the area. The agency also wants to extend the Eastern Freeway all the way to Colaba, through the port land.
If the Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT) agrees to open up its land for the project, MMRDA officials said the agency could extend the proposed WadalaThane Metro line up till Hutatma Chowk in Fort.
MMRDA commissioner UPS Madan said the state agency, when it was drawing up the plan for the Metro line, had, in fact, planned to connect it from Thane to Hutatma Chowk, but the route was curtailed at Wadala because the port lands were inaccessible.
With the proposal to open up and develop the port lands for the city’s benefit, Madan said MMRDA was willing to revert to its original plan.
This link will connect the tip of the island city to Mumbai’s satellite cities and provide a much-needed alternative to the congested suburban railway.
The state agency has also proposed to revive old road links that had been shelved due to the paucity of land.
“We had planned to construct the Eastern Freeway up to Colaba but were forced to curtail it at the existing point on P D’Mello road, because the port trust had refused to free up land then. We have now proposed to revive it so that commuters can travel directly from Colaba to Ghatkopar [through the Panjrapol-Ghatkopar link road that starts at the Chembur-end of Freeway],” Madan said.
Intersections of arterial roads could also be possible, helping improve connectivity and reduce congestion in the city. “Depending on the land we get, we are also planning an intersection of the Eastern Freeway and t he proposed Mumbai Trans-Harbour Link (MTHL) and the Worli-Sewri elevated road.”
Members of the land development committee (LDC), for med by the ministry of shipping to come up with recommendations over the possible use of land, have welcomed these suggestions.
“These are practical and do-able plans that reiterate the importance of these lands for the city’s rejuvenation in every sector, including transportation,” said a member.
The Mumbai Port Trust occupies a total of 1790 acres, which is 2% of the city’s total land mass. While there is no official figure, various studies have shown that the port can free up at least 50% of the lands, which comes up to about 900 acres.