Five-and-a-half years after numerous broken promises regarding the city’s first Metro line, Mumbaiites may finally be able to travel on it by January 2012.
We have railway authorities to thank for allowing the construction of a 183-metre bridge for the Metro to pass over the railway line from Andheri east to west.
Work on this bridge is likely to start by February and will be completed in eight months. The completion of the bridge will be a major fillip to the Metro as the bridge was one of the hardest hurdles to clear.
MMRDA officials claim with the clearance of the bridge the whole Metro line will be completed by October 2011.
“We are very sure that the Metro project will be completed by October 2011 and people will be able to ride the Metro a little later,” said PR Dilip Kawathkar, MMRDA joint project director.
Chief secretary Ratnakar Gaikwad, who also holds the additional charge of Metropolitan commissioner, has been reiterating that work on the project was being carried out at a fast pace and would be completed by October 2011.
After this, there will be a three-month testing of the Metro without passengers to ensure its safety. “If we manage to complete the rail over bridge in eight months, commuters will be in a position to ride the metro by early next year,” a senior MMRDA official said. MMRDA officials, however, claim that they will be able to run the Metro by October this year.
The bhoomipujan of the Metro Rail was undertaken in June 2006 and the system was supposed to be operational by July 2009. But, it got embroiled in public opposition and long-winded litigation over a 31-acre plot, which was to be a parking shed for the Metro rakes.