Underground metro lines will come at a heavy price

  • Saurabh Katkurwar, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: May 21, 2015 00:40 IST

Although the authorities were supposed to make all nine metro lines operational by last year, only one metro route — Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar — has been opened to the public so far.

The Charkop-Bandra-Mankhurd line had to be scrapped because of land issues and environmental hurdles.

To overcome the problem of land acquisition, the authorities now plan to construct Metro-3 (Colaba-Bandra-Seepz), Metro-2 (Dahisar-Charkop-Bandra- Mankhurd) and Metro-4 (Wadala- Ghatkopar-Thane- Kasarvadavali) as underground corridors.

However, a steep rise in the project cost and difficulty in procuring funds may hit the Metropolitan Region Development Authority’s (MMRDA) plans again.

The state government plans to construct the Rs23,136-crore Metro 3 project with the help of funds from the Japan International Cooperation Agency. It also plans to approach the World Bank and Asian Development Bank for a loan for Metro-2 and Metro-4, which are pegged at Rs25,606 crore and Rs19,097 crore, respectively.

According to original estimates, Metro-2 and Metro-4 were to cost Rs7,660 crore and Rs8,757 crore, respectively.

“Authorities have already delayed implementation of the projects, which has led to a major rise in cost. These projects should be constructed underground to ensure faster implementation,” said transport expert Jagdeep Desai.

According to MMRDA officials, only one of the nine metro lines was underground in the original master plan.

Expert Jitendra Gupta said, “It is good that the authorities are going to start many projects simultaneously. However, it could be difficult to raise funds for underground metros. Authorities should find ways to get funding from global agencies.”

The MMRDA plans to raise funds through transit-oriented development, land sale and various government schemes.

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