Mumbai Metro Rail inaugurated: Routes 2 and 3 still a pipe dream

While Maharashtra CM Prithivraj Chavan inaugurated the much-awaited Mumbai Metro from Versova on Sunday morning, the dream of a Mumbai Metro network criss-crossing the city and decongesting the overloaded public transport buses as well as the roads is a long way off.

The Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar Metro is India's first Metro railway project implemented on a public-private-partnership model by a consortium headed by RInfra. The state government's MMRDA is a partner in the Special Purpose Vehicle MMOPL that built and will operate the service.

 Mumbai Metro Rail inaugurated: Routes 2 and 3 still a pipe dream

A Mumbai Metro rake during a safety trial run. AFP.

With the commissioning of Phase-I's first line, all eyes are now on the remaining two routes of Phase 1. These are the Charkop-Bandra-Mankhurd route at 31.8 kilometres and the Colaba-Bandra route with an underground distance of 20 km.

In Phase II, the MMRDA will undertake development of the Charkop-Dahisar line of 7.5 km and Ghatkopar-Mulund at 12.4 km.

Phase III comprises the BKC-Kanjur Marg via Airport line that will be 19.5 kilometres long, Andheri (E)-Dahisar (E) that will run 18 km, the Hutatma Chowk-Ghatkopar line that will be 21.8 km long and the Sewri-Prabhadevi link at 3.5 km.

Phase II and III are not even on the drawing board.

The second and third routes of Phase I are in various stages of planning. The Charkop-BAndra-Mankhurd route has been in planning since 2009, and a ocntract was even awarded to RInfra, but the project looks like a non-starter over environmental clearances for the depot land on either end, which fall in land under CRZ restrictions. For all practical purposes, it is unlikely that construction of this route will take off soon.

Route 3 of the first phase has been redesigned too, with debates on how much of it will be underground and how much elevated not ending satisfactorily for all stakeholders. In any case, tendering for this route was stalled over legal issues. Once it does take off, the MMRDA expects construction to take up to six years.

The Metro Rail project was established to connect parts of the city that are not connected to the rail network.

Phase-II will include Charkop-Dahisar (7.5km), Ghatkopar-Mulund (12.4km) followed by Phase-III comprising BKC-Kanjurmarg via Mumbai Airport (19.5 km), Andheri east-Dahisar east (18km), Hutatma Chowk-Ghatkopar (21.8km) and Sewri-Prabhadevi (3.5km).

The entire Mumbai Metro project was at one point of time scheduled to be completed by 2021.

However, it now appears that the second and third routes themselves may be acase of too little, too late for Mumbai's congested public transport systems.

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Updated Date: Jun 08, 2014 11:53:09 IST