A beleaguered Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority, under fire from citizens and activists over the slow pace of work on the Mumbai Metro, has decided to hit back at its detractors. The authority has decided to hold a trial run of the Metro in February. Mumbai’s dream train will finally chug along a three-km stretch from Versova to JP Road near Andheri station during the trial runs.
“We will hold trial runs in the first week of February,” Metropolitan Commissioner Ratnakar Gaikwad said.
Trial runs are undertaken to check if the structure and systems are functioning properly. Ideally, after completion of a project, trial runs for transportation projects are undertaken for three months before passengers are allowed to use it. The MMRDA has been forced to undertake the trial run as it has been coming under fire over delays in project completion. The MMRDA had been claiming that the project would be completed by December 2010, which was later extended to October 2011.
However, there have been numerous hurdles in the construction of the project. MMRDA has still not provided a clear construction area to Mumbai Metro One Pvt Ltd on a 770-metre stretch of land in areas like Asalfa.
Another problem was the over bridge at Andheri Railway station. The MMOPL needs to create a 180-metre bridge over the Railway line for which the railways need to block traffic on certain sections. There is still no clarity on when the railways will allow traffic to halt and when construction will begin on a bridge that could take 10 months to be built.
Metropolitan commissioner Ratnakar Gaikwad, however, claimed that work was being expedited and people would be able to ride the Metro in 2011.
The Metro, since its inception, has been plagued by delays.
The MMRDA, which is the coordinating agency for building the Metro lines in the city, claims the project will be operational by October 2011.