Mumbai: 3 years and Rs 6.5 cr later, BKC cycle track to go

A stretch of 1.5 km on the main road will be utilised for a dedicated bus lane from MTNL junction to Kalanagar signal; the rest of the track is so poorly maintained that almost nobody uses it

Three years after the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) spent big bucks and inaugurated the cycling track at Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC), the agency is now preparing to dismantle a portion of it to make way for a dedicated bus lane.

Only the 1.5-km stretch on the main road, which will now be converted to a dedicated bus lane, was being maintained properly by the MMRDA

The project, which cost a whopping R6.48 crore, has been a complete failure with hardly anyone using the path for cycling. The 1.5-km patch of the southbound lane will now be taken apart for another project. Confirming the same, Metropolitan Commissioner UPS Madan said, “We have plans to start a dedicated bus lane service from MTNL junction in BKC up to Kalanagar signal. For that, we may have to remove the portion of the track on BKC Road.”

No takers
It is only this portion on the main road — which will now be dismantled — that has been kept in good shape. As for the rest of the 13-km-long path on the internal roads, the stretches are so shoddily maintained that hardly anybody uses it.

The rest of the track, on internal roads, is covered with mud, causing cyclists to slip

mid-day paid a visit to the entire track and found it scattered with mud. At one spot, we encountered a rare event — a cyclist using the track, but the man lost his balance and fell due to the mud. At another spot, there was an open manhole.

A senior MMRDA official confessed on the condition that he would not be named, “It was a wrong decision to construct a cycling track in BKC. It wasn’t required at all, since people here hardly use bicycles.” The project was the brainchild of then Additional Metropolitan Commissioner SVR Srinivas; he is now additional municipal commissioner at the BMC.

An open manhole in the middle doesn’t make for a good cycling trip either. Pics/Satyajit Desai

mid-day has, in the past, reported on how public funds were blown up for the project. Former MMRDA Commissioner Rahul Asthana had called the project ‘nonsense’. Soon after the track’s opening, this paper had highlighted how the CM had opened an incomplete track (‘Mr CM, see what you inaugurated’, April 29, 2011). A subsequent report had highlighted that no feasibility study had been conducted before embarking on such a huge expenditure (‘RTI: No survey done for R6.5-crore BKC cycle track’, January 2, 2012). The applicant who had filed an RTI query in the matter had accused officials of having ulterior motives behind granting the project to the contractor.

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