With the country’s first monorail service all set to start by September this year, agencies are now squabbling over its traffic dispersal system. And this could potentially delay your promised ride in the A/C monorail by a few more months.
There is no consensus between the traffic police, BMC and Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) over traffic management, with the MMRDA’s plan being junked as “impractical and too difficult” to implement by the traffic police.
On Monday, the Empowered Committee (EC) on the Mumbai Makeover project, which discussed this at length, saw agencies disagreeing with each other before chief secretary Jayant Kumar Banthia finally intervened and asked officials to go to the site and sort out the issue instead of finalising plans in a Mantralaya boardroom.
Banthia asked joint commissioner of police (traffic) Vivek Phansalkar, joint metropolitan commissioner of the MMRDA Ashwini Bhide, and additional municipal commissioner Aseem Gupta to visit the site to discuss the plan and sort out differences between the agencies.
The MMRDA presented its plan for traffic dispersal at the seven stations of the first phase of the monorail corridor that is expected to be opened to public in September this year. The 8.8-km route from Chembur to Wadala crosses some of the most congested areas in the city, and the plan — which envisioned creating traffic medians, side pavements and parking bays for giving way to commuters — was criticised by many present as being feasible only on paper. Funding for the traffic management system has also not yet been finalised with the government hoping that every agency involved pitches in.
“The monorail project has been delayed and now traffic dispersal threatens to delay it further. Traffic dispersal and management should have been planned and worked out in advance along with the project and not at the last minute,” said a member of the EC.
Banthia told HT, “In a city like Mumbai, we will always face the challenge of space, but we have to make the best of what is possible. All the agencies will revisit the plan at the site and modify it if required. Funding details have not yet been finalised.”