Mumbai Metro Line 3: Flagged off for Trail
Nearly 17 lakh people will travel daily on this line once it is operational. With the commencement of this line, nearly seven lakh vehicles will go off-road. It will definitely support the environmental cause. The MMRCL on August 30, 2022, launched the much-awaited trial run of the Colaba – Bandra – SEEPZ Metro line-3 at Sariput Nagar in Aarey Colony.
Mumbai Metro Line 3: Project Details
The Colaba Bandra Seepz metro, also called Mumbai Metro Line 3, is an ongoing project being implemented by the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Limited (MMRCL). When completed, the 33.5-km-long Mumbai metro line 3 will be the first underground metro line in Mumbai, with 27 stations. Presently, of the 33 km underground tunnel, only 1.5km remains to be done.
As per media reports, the MMRCL aims to finish Phase 1 works of the Aqua Line from Bandra to Seepz by January 2024. Post that another 6 months are set before operations of phase 1 can start, provided the metro car shed land issue is sorted in the next three months. The reports also claim that the Aqua Line may be extended till Navy Nagar with the government appointing a consultant to do the feasibility study. The extension cost is pegged around Rs 2000 crore.
The initial deadline for the first phase- Bandra to Seepz was December 2021 and the second phase- BKC to Colaba was June 2022 for the first underground metro in Mumbai. Owing to the delay of the line, the cost of the project which was initially projected at Rs 23,000 crore has gone up to Rs 33,406 crore, excluding the cost of the Navy Nagar extension that is being explored now.
Approval of Overrun Costs
Citing cost escalation, the Maharashtra cabinet on August 10, 2022, approved an additional expenditure of Rs 10,269 crore for the Metro Line 3 project.
Clarifying the cost escalations the Deputy Chief Minister of the State Mr. Devendra Fadnavis briefed that the cost of Mumbai Metro Line 3 has increased on account of almost no construction undertaken in the last two years. The original cost of the project was Rs 23,136 crore, which has now gone up to Rs 33,405 crore (a total rise of Rs 10,269 crore). The cabinet, therefore, approved an additional expenditure of Rs 10,000 crore for Aqua Line. The state government is now going to request the Union government to contribute from its corpus for the completion of the project.
Earlier, for line 3, Rs 2,402 crore was to be spent which has now been increased to Rs 3,699 crore. The cabinet instructed the Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (MMRDA) to transfer Rs 1,297 crore (the difference in cost) to the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation as part of the Rs 10,269 crore funding. Metro Line 3 is funded by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). A proposal to make a fresh demand to JICA to increase its loan amount has been cleared by the cabinet. JICA now will increase its contribution from Rs 13,235 crore to Rs 19,924 crore.
By 2031, some 17 lakh passengers will travel by the Aqua line every day. People will be able to travel from Colaba (in south Mumbai) to the international airport in suburban Mumbai in 50 minutes. The tunnel work of the project has been completed around 98.6 percent, while 82.6 percent of work on stations also has been done. Acquisition of 73.14 hectares of government land and another 2.56 hectares of private land too has been completed.
On October 5, 2020, the Mumbai Metro Rail accomplished tunneling from Siddhivinayak to Dadar, covering a distance of 1.10 km. This part was the most precarious since a number of residential buildings and commercial shops are located in close proximity to the site. The Aqua Line work is ongoing at Dadar, Siddhivinayak, and Sitladevi Metro stations. Around 61% of the Line, 3 work has been completed at Dadar Metro station. So far, around 87% of the tunneling work and 60% of the civil work of Line 3 have been completed.
Twin tunnels of 5.2 meters in diameter each are being dug at a depth of 20-25 meters below ground. Seventeen tunnel boring machines are being used, to construct these tunnels. A section spanning 1.2 km, from the Bandra-Kurla Complex to Dharavi stations, will pass under the bed of the Mithi river and an additional stabling line is being constructed for this section of the line.
The original deadline for Metro Line 3 was 2016 but owing to various legal disputes and environmental issues arising out of its construction, it is now expected to be completed in 2024. Full-fledged construction activities commenced on May 18, 2017, when officials notified the concerned authorities that any further delay would escalate the cost of the project by as much as Rs 4 crores per day. Line 3 will be implemented in phases and the first phase will connect Aarey Milk Colony to Mumbai airport. Works on the line is going at a fast pace with only 1.5 km of tunneling work remaining to be done. Although the line 3 completion date has not yet been decided, the complete project is envisaged to be operational by 2024.
Connectivity and Route
Line 3 shall provide commuters connectivity to other metro lines as well as the suburban railways. Under the original Line 3 plan, there was no direct connectivity to the airport and commuters would have to exit the metro station, come up to ground level, and cross a road on foot to reach Mumbai airport. However, as per the revised plan, MMRCL now has been directed to provide direct access from the Metro Line to the airport and Mumbai Central railway station.
Key Phases & Date
- On February 14, 2019, the MMRCL announced its fifth tunneling milestone at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (CSMIA) – T2 on Line 3 of the Mumbai Metro. The corridor between CSMIA-T2 station and Aarey Colony will provide access to the Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar Metro 1 line at Marol Naka and the Swami Samarth Nagar-Jogeshwari-Kanjurmarg-Vikhroli Metro 6 line at Aarey Station. Mumbai Metro line 3 will also provide some much-needed connectivity between the business hubs of MIDC and SEEPZ, which are not currently connected by Mumbai’s local trains.
- On February 21, 2019, it was announced that a sixth tunneling project had been completed at the Sahar Road metro station. Starting from September 2018, tunneling of 692 meters had been completed in this critical section of Mumbai Metro Line 3, with part of it running under the Tansa Water Pipeline. This new section on Mumbai Metro Line 3 will help connect Sahar Road to the rest of the city. The MMRCL has completed around 97% of the tunneling work in the total project as of November 2021. Of 7 underground civil packages, tunneling for six has been completed.
- In March 2020, the MMRCL achieved a major milestone, when it finished the tunneling work on one of the two tunnels passing under the Mithi River. The tunnels are at a depth of 12.5 meters below the river.
Stations with Interchanges:
- Churchgate – Western Line
- CSMT Metro – Central Line, Harbour line, Indian Railways
- Grant Road – Western Line
- Mumbai Central Metro – Western Line, Indian Railways
- Mahalaxmi – Western Line, Monorail
- Dadar – Western Line, Central Line, Indian Railways
- BKC – Metro Line 2 (under construction)
- Domestic Airport – Line 7 (under construction)
- Sahar Road – Line 7 (under construction)
- International Airport – Line 7 (under construction)
- Marol Naka – Line 1 (operational)
- SEEPZ – Line 6
Line 3 Stations
Few Other Facts
- JICA extends loan of Rs 2,480 crores: Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in March 2020, signed an agreement with the government of India, to provide official development assistance (ODA) loan of 39,928 million Japanese Yen (approximately Rs 2,480 crores) for the Line 3 Project. The ODA loan agreement was signed between CS Mohapatra, additional secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, and Katsuo Matsumoto, chief representative, JICA India. The Aqua Line is scheduled to be completed by 2024. Overall, JICA has extended concessional ODA loans worth over 1 trillion Japanese Yen (approximately Rs 60,000 crores) for the development of metro systems in Delhi, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Chennai, Mumbai, and Ahmedabad.
- Leading PSUs and corporates vie for naming rights of stations: The Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC), which is implementing the project, has received 87 expressions of interest (EOIs) to acquire rights to name 18 stations. In totality 28 organizations expressed their interest in naming rights, with many of them showing interest in multiple stations. These include large PSUs like LIC, Indian Oil, banking and financial institutions like SBI, Bank of Baroda, UTI, Kotak, IDFC First, HSBC, airlines like Indigo, SpiceJet, and corporates like JSW, GlaxoSmithKline, TimesGroup, Blackstone, Phoenix Mills, Piramal, Oberoi, DB Realty among others. The BKC station, being the most significant business district in the city, was the most sought-after station with 12 EOIs. Dadar and Airport Terminal 2 stations were joint second, receiving nine EOIs each, followed by Airport Terminal one and CSMT with seven EOIs each.
- Cost escalation in five years: While the Metro project had been facing numerous hurdles, the state government has spent about 70% of the total expenditure on nine projects in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR), for this underground corridor. According to the economic survey of Maharashtra, the state had spent Rs 22,624.29 crores on nine ongoing Metro projects, and nearly Rs 15 crores was spent on the Mumbai Metro Line 3 project. The cost had increased by nearly Rs 10,000 crores from the original estimated amount. Consequently, the budget has been revised from Rs 23,000 crores to Rs 32,000 crores in 2021.
- Environmental Clearance: The construction of Line 3 has been mired by several environmental issues, including the felling of trees and noise pollution complaints. On June 6, 2017, it was reported that over 5,000 trees were proposed to be cut in various areas of south Mumbai. The high court had earlier imposed a stay on the cutting of trees but on May 5, 2017, it vacated its stay and gave a go-ahead to the MMRCL to cut the trees, after observing that a balance needed to be established between development and environment. It is now reported that a total of 5,012 trees will be affected, of which 1,331 will be cut and the remaining 3,681 will re-planted in other parts of the city.
In March 2017, MMRC director Ashwini Bhide stated that the metro was designed in a way that would minimize the cutting down of trees and that three times more trees would be planted to make up for the loss. She further notified that if all the trees that needed to be cut were saved, it would reduce carbon dioxide in the air by 6,100 kg. However, it was informed that the metro would help cut CO2 emissions by 9.9 million kgs, by significantly reducing the number of vehicles on the road. The MMRC had signed an agreement with the Forest Development Corporation of Mumbai to plant around 9,000 trees.
The works on Line 3 also ran into trouble, when residents in parts of Churchgate, Cuffe Parade, and Mahim, complained that noise pollution norms were being flouted during the construction. The Maharashtra government, on June 4, 2018, told the Bombay High Court that it had recorded the decibel levels at three spots where construction work was underway and had sent a report to the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB), for further action. The Bombay High Court, on July 18, 2018, said it was not inclined to allow the MMRCL to carry out construction for the Mumbai Metro 3 Line in south Mumbai’s Cuffe Parade area at night until the MPCB submitted its report on noise pollution.
- Aarey Colony car-shed shifted: The Line 3 project came under fire from various quarters, for the proposed car-shed at Aarey Colony, a prime green tract in the city, the then Chief Minister Mr. Uddhav Thackeray announced shifting of the depot to Kanjurmarg. The Maharashtra CM, on November 29, 2019, ordered a stay on the construction work of the metro car shed and announced that it would set up a four-member committee, to identify an alternative land for the car shed. In December 2020, the Bombay High Court passed an interim order, staying the transfer of land at Kanjurmarg to the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA).