Even as citizens’ groups demanding underground Metro lines in the suburbs gear up to undertake a march on Sunday, the city’s planning agency put an end to the controversy.
On Friday, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority clarified that building an underground metro in the suburbs was both financially and technically unfeasible.
A single stretch of an elevated Metro line costs around Rs 200 crore, while an underground stretch would cost Rs 600 crore.
“For the metro to be partially underground we need to construct a ramp from where the Metro can go from elevated to underground and vice versa,” said Metropolitan Commissioner Ratnakar Gaikwad. “We are not getting any such patch in Andheri and in Bandra. So, it is impossible to construct an underground metro on this stretch.”
Gaikwad added that building an underground line would cost an additional Rs 56,000 crore and the state coffers would not be able to “withstand this pressure”.
The 145-km metro line cost is pegged at more than Rs 47,000 crore, but by building an underground stretch the cost would jump to Rs 1.03 lakh crore. “We are struggling to raise even the viability gap for the proposed metro lines. Where will we get this money from?” he asked.
Activists claim that the MMRDA has not done its homework and is forcing on the city a transport system that will further complicate problems.
“No other country is going in for elevated lines. The human cost and problems it will create are far greater then the benefits,” said activist Kunika Lall. She added that they have filed a public interest litigation against the elevated Metro and the hearing is on September 23.
Citizens’ groups have been demanding an underground Metro, which they admit will be costly but beneficial in the long run causing minimal inconvenience to residents.