Even as construction work for the Belapur-Pendhar Metro line continues to gather steam, it seems the Indian Railways is a big hurdle about to put a stop to the work. City and Industrial Development Corporation of Maharashtra (CIDCO) officials are worried that they will be missing the 2015 deadline as well (See box for details), as they are yet to receive an approval from the Indian Railways.
Even though 60 per cent of civil work and 30 per cent of station work has been completed, officials are finding it hard to meet their deadline. Speaking about their troubles, an official explained that about 300 square metres of land in Panchanand, the tenth station on the Metro line, belonged to the Indian Railways. This land is essential, as eight piers will be built here. CIDCO authorities said that they had sent a letter seeking permission to begin work last August, but were still waiting for a reply granting permission for the same.
“Receiving permission from the Indian Railways is the biggest hurdle, as of date. Not a single brick can be laid until we receive their go-ahead. Hence, no work has begun. Although we will try to make up for lost time, there are high chances that if the permission is delayed, our project work will be affected,” said aCIDCO official.
Confirming the same, V C Kamble, superintendent engineer, CIDCO, said that work on all other Metro stations except for Panchanand had begun.
“We have asked for permission from NH-4 and Sion-Panvel highway authorities, but the letters we have written to the rail authority haven’t been replied to till date.
We cannot begin any kind of work until we get a green signal from them, as they can take strict action against us. Our MD and Joint MD have had meetings with the DRM. So, we are waiting for their reply soon,” he said.
He added that they were expecting a reply within two months and anticipated to start work latest by March.
First trial run only by july 2016
Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan had performed the groundbreaking ceremony for the project on May 1, 2011. Speaking on the occasion, Chavan had asked the authorities to ensure that the line was operational within the next three years -- by 2014. However, thanks to different issues, the project has missed its deadlines. A CIDCO official said the line would witness its first trial run in July 2016.
“Anything that passes through railway lines needs an approval from the Commissioner of Railway Safety, without which we cannot give permissions. Also we have asked them to submit a comprehensive plan, which they have not done,” said a senior Central Railway official.