An extensive suburban railway network of seven corridors and also a link to Bandra-Kurla Complex: this was what had been planned to cater to Mumbai's mass transport needs four decades ago.
While some of these plans never took off, others were implemented at a snail's pace, leading to the mass transport mess that the city is facing today.
Along with state infrastructure development projects, some of the delayed railway projects would have also greatly contributed in reducing the burden on existing suburban section and improving east-west connectivity.
The regional plan 1973 mentions development of Bandra-Kurla commercial complex as one of the key elements of the overall planning strategy.
"For this centre to succeed, a rail link is a must. Apart from serving the commercial complex, Bandra-Kurla rail link would cater to the existing substantial demand for east-west travel. One corridor seems immediately justifiable. Its capacity may have to be augmented depending upon the nature of actual development in the Bandra Kurla complex," says excerpts from the plan.
"Even if the railways had strengthened the existing Harbour line or developed Bandra-Kurla rail link, there was no need of Charkop- Bandra-Mankhurd metro route. Bandra-Kurla rail link has been suggested since 1970s still don't know why it's not started," said Jagdeep Desai, transport activist.
When contacted, chief public relations officer (CPRO), Western Railway, said: "Around a year ago, we conveyed to state authorities that improving east-west connectivity is a necessity. The state has to take a call on its development."
The Central Railway (CR) had initially conceptualised operation of seven railway corridors independently - fast corridor CST-Kalyan, slow CST-Kalyan, Harbour line, trans-harbour line, Wadala-Borivli corridor, fifth and sixth line and Seawoods-Uran rail corridor.
Of these, other than Seawoods-Uran rail corridor, all other projects are functional but they are not independent of each other.
"If these corridors were kept independent, the disruption in one corridor would have not affected the other. The concept is practiced in many developed countries, but in Mumbai as they were implemented, the concept got diluted and now the lines are linked," said V Malegaonkar, CPRO, CR.
When contacted, Sulakshana Mahajan, consultant (urban planning) with Mumbai transformation support unit, said: "The delayed infrastructure projects have definitely burdened the existing infrastructure and affected the progress of new CBDs. If rail connectivity was provided to Navi Mumbai in 1990s, it would have boomed differently."
"Similarly, the Sewri-Nhava link projects which should have been constructed long back have just commenced," added Mahajan.