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Mumbai Metro-3 line: Mahalaxmi racecourse land used to build temporary bypass, divert traffic

The original road will be reinstated and the racecourse’s boundary wall will be restored once Metro work is done, in three years’ time

mumbai Updated: Jan 28, 2018 16:44 IST
Tanushree Venkatraman
Tanushree Venkatraman
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,Metro 3,Mahalaxmi racecourse
It is a 350-metre-long, two-lane bypass that runs from Rakhangi chowk to Worli Naka.(Photo courtesy: MMRC)

A bypass has been built on a part of Mahalaxmi racecourse land so that the Metro-3 line (Colaba-Bandra-Seepz) work can continue unaffected. The Maharashtra government parted with land and racecourse officials voiced no objections, though the racecourse continues to be mired in controversy. The temporary road opened to traffic on January 15.

The Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC) has constructed the detour from Rakhangi chowk to Worli Naka so that it can undertake the underground station work on E Moses Road, as well as for the Science Museum station, officials said. It has spent Rs10 crore to build the bypass.

The MMRC has acquired 17,000 sqm of the racecourse land, of which 5,200 sqm is being used to divert traffic - it has built two lanes of 6.5 metres each with a median and footpaths. The company will use the remaining land to set up its tunnel-boring machines that will be used for excavation.

SK Gupta, director (projects), MMRC, said: “From Mumbai Central to Worli, there are five stations and they are all on the road. We cannot have traffic on the road while work is underway, so we have created a 350-metre-long bypass; it’s just a localised detour.”

The road will be reinstated and the racecourse’s boundary wall will be restored once the construction is complete, Gupta said.

The racecourse is managed by the Royal Western India Turf Club (RWITC), which said the land acquired to build the bypass was where the race tracks were. Vivek Jain, chairman, RWITC, said: “We did not raise objections because they have promised that the land will be restored in three years. Also, it’s a good project for the city, so we decided to make other arrangements concerning the race tracks.”

The Mahalakshmi racecourse has been mired in controversy since 2013 when the RWITC’s 100-year lease for the racecourse expired. The Shiv Sena-controlled Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) does not want to renew the lease; instead, it wants to build a theme park at the site. The BJP-led Maharashtra government has been sitting on the decision to renew the lease since it came to power in 2014. Of the 8.55 lakh sqm open space, the BMC has claimed ownership of 2.58 lakh sqm, and conceded that the remaining 5.97 lakh sqm belongs to the state government.

Metro 3 is a 33.5-km fully underground corridor that will connect south Mumbai and the western suburbs.

First Published: Jan 27, 2018 16:19 IST