Mumbai: It is now turn of the residents of the far eastern suburbs – Kalyan, Dombivli, Navi Mumbai and adjoining areas – to anticipate a Metro ride, what with chief minister Devendra Fadnavis announcing on Wednesday that the foundation laying ceremony for Wadala-Ghatkopar-Thane-Kasarvadavali Metro would be held before the end of this year. He was responding to a call attention motion in the state assembly moved by MLAs Subhash Bhoir, Shambhuraje Desai, Sunil Shinde, Pratap Sarnaik and others. Bhoir said the Metro project was getting delayed while commuters daily jostle with enormous difficulties, resulting in untoward incidents – not to mention unrest – in Thane and nearby stations. Fadnavis informed the house that he along with Thane guardian minister Eknath Shinde will lay the foundation stone for Metro-4 this year. He said he, as MMRDA Chairman, has already given his nod and the project will commence after the final approval to agreements in this regard.
When Pratap Sarnaik insisted on a commencement date as well as the deadline for project completion, the CM replied, “I can’t specify the deadline for this, but I assure the House that we will lay the foundation stone of this project in this year.”While replying to a supplementary question by NCP’s Jitendra Ahvad, the CM made it clear that the government does not expect the project to go on for 15 years. He said all the Metro corridors that have the go-ahead will be completed by 2021.
The MMRDA has allotted Rs10 crore in its latest budget for the 30.8-km-long Metro 4. The World Bank has shown interest in providing financial aid to the project having an approximate cost of Rs22,000 crore.
The original Mumbai Metro Master Plan of 2003 had nine corridors, and two of these are Ghatkopar-Mulund and Hutatma Chowk-Ghatkopar routes. In September 2009, the latter was cut short from Hutatma Chowk to Carnac Bunderm while in November 2010, it was decided to extend Ghatkopar-Mulund route till Teen Haath Naka in Thane.During the end of 2009, it was planned to come out with tenders for the other project – Thane-Bhiwandi-Kalyan Monorail of 23.75-km, which was shelved later in 2011-2012 after Rail India Technical and Economic Service (RITES) recommend putting off the project for 10-15 years due to low ridership on the route.A while ago, Teen Haath Naka-Kasarvadavli Metro too was planned and made part of the revised plan, therefore making it Wadala-Ghatkopar-Teen Haath Naka-Kasarvadavli metro.
Minister of state Ranjit Patil, while replying before the CM, said the government has started work on the Kalva-Airoli elevated corridor on the suburban railway section, which would cost Rs336 crore. He laso said survey work for Diva-Panvel route under the Mumbai Urban Transport Project-3 has already started.
The MMRDA has finalised 2031 as the horizon year – by which we would have a fair idea of when the project would be complete – for these two projects, which would come as immense relief to commuters on this line.
MLA Sanjay Kelkar pointed out that more than seven lakh people who commute on this section were getting the raw end of the stick for a long time and were demanding speedy completion of these projects. Patil then responded that the government was serious about this project, and that is why budgetary provision has been made for the elevated corridor.