The much-anticipated first run of the Mumbai Metro from Versova to Ghatkopar does not seem likely to happen in June 2011.
Mumbai’s first Metro rail spanning Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar may not meet the deadline as the Western Railway (WR) has refused to allow a four-hour rail block at Andheri.
The Mumbai Metro One Pvt Ltd (MMOPL) had requested WR to allow a four-hour block for 57 days so that girders could be launched on the Metro tracks to connect Andheri west and east. Three months ago MMOPL had asked for a two-and-half hour block for the same work, for which WR had contemplated giving permission.
WR officials say that under normal circumstances, they can allow a block only during night hours at Andheri between 1.45 am and 3.45 am, hence MMOPL’s demand for four hours was just not possible to meet. “If we increase the block hours then it will certainly affect train services, inconveniencing lakhs of commuters,” said a senior WR official, on condition of anonymity.
MMOPL on the other hand said they would be okay even if the WR gave them a two- or three-hour block at different times as this would give them scope to begin their work. “We can meet deadlines only if we get time to start and complete the work,” said KP Maheshwari, director, MMOPL, who seemed confident of meeting the June 2011 deadline.
WR wants to have a meeting with MMOPL to discuss all details minutely before giving them permission to carry out the work.
“The drawings sent to us by MMOPL aren’t complete and we have given permission for whatever has been submitted in their piecemeal plan,” the WR official added.
“We will be examining the final comprehensive plan before giving them permission to carry out this work in totality,” said WR chief PRO, S Chandrayan. The MMOPL will also have to get permission from the commissioner of Railway Safety before carrying out any physical work.
Meanwhile, the MMRDA, too, is aiming to complete all civil work by June 2011.