MUMBAI (Metro Rail News): Even though three Metro lines are listed for operations in 2020-21, they face a difficulty which may delay the plan – Not even single of them have car sheds depot, a vital component to getting the project off the ground. The three lines are part of the ambitious project to get 13 Metro lines for the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) by 2026.
The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) is looking at constructing line 2A (Dahisar-DN Nagar) and line 7 (Dahisar E-Andheri E) operational by the end of 2020, whereas the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC) is looking at constructing the first phase (Bandra-Kurla Complex-Aarey) of the underground Metro-3 (Colaba-Bandra-Seepz) corridor operational by December 2021.
The three lines together are expected to cater to more than 20 lakh commuters. The three lines commonly are supposed to carry more than 20 lakh commuters. Though, the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi has stayed construction of the controversial car depot for Metro-3 in Aarey Colony. Although a committee assigned by the government said that the depot should be in Aarey, the govt. is yet to decide. The MMRDA, at the same time, recently terminated the contract of RCC-MBZ consortium that was building the car depot for 2A, 7 and line 2B (DN Nagar-Mandale) in Mandale. The three lines together are expected to cater to more than 20 lakh commuters.
So far, 25% of the depot works have been performed in Aarey, where only 6.98% of works have been performed in Mandale, where the MMRDA was supposing 50% work to be performed. The contract was awarded to RCC-MBZ in 2018 at a value of ₹390 crores.
“We cannot start operations without a car depot,” said a senior official from MMRDA. An official from MMRC, who did not want to be named, said building a car depot would require 24 months.
The MMRC, on its website, describes the depot as a “mandatory and essential facility for smooth operations of any metro system where all metro trains rest during non-working hours. It is in the car depot that the trains can be washed, cleaned, repaired and maintained. It is the starting point for train operations every day”.
The primary coaches for the lines will also arrive at the depot first, where it will be assembled. The MMRDA is awaiting the first coach in July 2020, where the MMRC is awaiting the first coach this December.
An official from MMRDA said while the authority will look for contractors to complete the depot works and take up portions of 2B, which were also awarded to the same contractor, the process will have a cascading effect on the work. “Delay is inevitable in such a situation. If we get contractors who are already working on other lines, too, the work will add to their burden. There can be procedural lapses also, for instance, if we get bids from only one contractor, then the whole process has to be repeated,” the official said.
The time limits for the three lines have already been altered in the past. The earlier Devendra Fadnavis-led BJP government had set December 2019 as the deadline to initiate operations of line 2A and 7, where phase-1 of Metro-3 was earlier scheduled for June 2021.