Kurla subway project changes purpose
The city’s longest vehicular and pedestrian subway, connecting Kurla east and west, will not serve the purpose it was designed for.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) will open the subway for pedestrians only. With Rs 2.6 crore already spent, this is a glaring example of how public money has gone waste.
The subway was completed in early 2005. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) asked the Veermata Jeejabai Technical Institute (VJTI) to conduct a feasibility study in 2005 end.
The VJTI report (a copy of which is with HT), submitted on January 30, 2006, has said that the vehicular subway project may now have to be shelved. Or if required, its status may be changed to a pedestrian subway — after around 70 per cent of the project is complete. But, this would defeat the purpose as there already two pedestrian bridges connecting Kurla east and west.
Work on the Rs 6-crore project began in 2001 in a joint venture between the BMC and the Central Railway. The Central Railway then issued work orders and building the subway under 10-12 running railway tracks was not an easy task.
When the railways informed the BMC about the project’s status, the BMC reportedly said they did not find the subway feasible and asked the VJTI to conduct a technical feasibility report.
But the three-page shabbily written report has ruled out a subway citing pollution and waterlogging during monsoon.
"This is a classic example of how government bodies function," Ashok Datar, chairman of Mumbai Environmental Social Network, told HT.
Saying that there is no coordination between Central Railway and the BMC, Datar added: "The BMC should have done a study first and then asked the railways to go ahead with the project."
The subway would have made travel easy especially for light vehicles that now take a 6-km route through Sion or Ghatkopar to go from Kurla east to west.
According to the railways, they went ahead with the project after approval by the municipal commissioner and hence they went ahead with the project. The railways were not told about the VJTI report. "We have completed our portion of the subway. The subway is ready and only waiting for openings to be built on both sides," divisional railway manager Ranjit Singh Virdi, Central Railway’s top boss told HT.
Datar is frustrated with the entire functioning. "There is utter confusion on both sides. The only truth is that huge amount of public money has gone down the drain," he said.