World Bank and MMRDA officials concerned about traffic snarls and rehab of displaced people
World Bank officials are worried about the traffic snarls that the Metro-4 and 5 lines are likely to create during construction. The World Bank, which is keen on funding the project that will see the Metro run from Andheri East and Dahisar via the Western Express Highway and Dahisar DN Nagar, are also concerned about procurement of land. On a visit to Mumbai last week, they agreed that the state government has to address the problem.
Mulyani Indrawati, MD and CEO, World Bank, in the ladies compartment of a local train at Churchgate Station on September 22. Pic/Sayyed Sameer Abedi
“The Maharashtra government has approached us for funding the future Metro and suburban rail projects. We realised that procurement of land in Mumbai would be a major hurdle like our past experiences have shown,” said Onno Ruhl, Country Director, World Bank, who was part of group visiting the city. They also said that although they can adjust with delays of up to two years after the start of a project, beyond that, it would get tricky. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to come to Mumbai next month to conduct the Bhoomipujan for both lines.
World Bank officials say that they stand a good chance of funding the project because they have past experience in funding important infrastructure projects in the city, all part of the Mumbai Urban Transport Projects, including the arterial east-west connector of Jogeshwari Vikroli Link Road and the Santacruz Chembur Link Road. The SCLR project, which is also one of the most-delayed infrastructure projects in the world funded by the World Bank, was delayed because of issues related to Resettlement and Rehabilitation of project-affected people.
The Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is already funding the Metro-3 project, running underground between Colaba, Bandra and Seepz and the Asian Development Bank has also shown interest in funding the Metro-4 and 5 lines.
Once construction begins from Andheri East to Dahisar, the traffic scenario on the Western Express Highway is likely to worsen during morning and evening hours. An official from the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority, who did not wish to be named, said, “The construction of an elevated corridor is not an easy task. It’s challenging because the most important issue of R&R of the projected-affected people is not easy. There are many slums pockets on either sides of the highway.” The MMRDA had earlier faced trouble while constructing the elevated corridor of Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar. The construction of the Dahisar-DN Nagar Metro line would be challenging too since the line travels via the arterial link road between Dahisar and DN Nagar, a stretch along which there are many slum pockets.
In order to start the construction, the authorities will require a NOC from the traffic department. In an earlier instance, the MMRDA had wanted to construct both lanes of the Kherwadi flyover at the same time but the traffic department had denied permission, saying it will cause chaos.