Rs 3 crore spent on unusable subway
The city’s longest vehicular and pedestrian subway, connecting Kurla’s east and west, has turned into a water reservoir, with local slumdwellers using it to store water for non-potable use.mumbai Updated: May 10, 2010 01:02 IST
The city’s longest vehicular and pedestrian subway, connecting Kurla’s east and west, has turned into a water reservoir, with local slumdwellers using it to store water for non-potable use.
That’s because the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), which built it as a joint venture with Central Railway, asked the Veermata Jeejabai Technical Institute (VJTI) to conduct a feasibility study – after having spent Rs 3 crore on the Rs 8-crore project.
“The Kurla subway has become a joke. It was inaugurated by Shiv Sena leader Manohar Joshi who took all the credit for it. The railways completed their portion of the subway, but the BMC raised technical objections. The subway is ready, but the entry and exit are not, so the whole subway is rotting inside,” said Jitendra Gupta, local citizen and member of the Citizen Transport Committee.
Mumbai Mayor Shraddha Jadhav expressed surprise. “I didn’t know the subway is still pending. I will call a meeting on Monday to see what the problem is. I will also visit the place.”
Work began in 2001, and most of the 120-m-long, 28-ft-wide subway was complete by early 2005. That year-end, the BMC asked VJTI to conduct the feasibility study. On January 30, 2006, VJTI submitted its report saying vehicular traffic through the subway was not recommended, and if needed, its status be changed to a pedestrian subway.
This did not make sense since there are already two pedestrian bridges connecting Kurla east and west. It was then decided to use the subway for pedestrians and light vehicles only.
“It was considered not feasible for technical reasons — because of water-logging due to ground water inside. But the BMC discovered this after the railways had completed their part of the work,” said local corporator and MLA Rajhans Singh — who is also opposition leader in the BMC.
VJTI’s three-page report ruled out a subway, citing pollution and monsoon water-logging given the proximity of sewer lines below the area. The railways – who were not told about the VJTI report — have said they went ahead with the project after approval from the civic chief.
A full-scale vehicular subway will dramatically improve the quality of the commute for motorists, who now take a circuitous 6-km route through Sion or Ghatkopar to go from Kurla east to west.