Mumbai: Khar subway's overhaul on the cards, thanks to Suresh Prabhu's travel

Put off by the tedious journey home last week, Suresh Prabhu directed WR to revamp it; rail officials and BMC plan to reconstruct and expand the subway

Exasperated by rundown civic/government infrastructure? Keep your fingers crossed that a VVIP is just as hassled. It has taken a rather “cumbersome” travel by Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu last week to get the authorities to initiate an overhaul of the decrepit and narrow Khar subway.

Jostling for space: The Khar subway sees bumper-to-bumper traffic during peak hours. FileE Pic
Jostling for space: The Khar subway sees bumper-to-bumper traffic during peak hours. FileE Pic

Sources said during his visit to his home in Khar on April 22, Prabhu’s entourage crawled through the chock-a-block traffic in the Khar subway for 20 minutes. There was a time when one could zip through the 70-metre subway in just 5 minutes. Put off by the experience, Prabhu directed his officials to reconstruct and expand the subway, along with the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). “I have asked railway officials to improve the condition of the Khar subway with help of the BMC as people have to face a lot of difficulties there. It is cumbersome to travel [though it] and I know this as I have been staying here for a long time now,” said Prabhu after inaugurating the new foot over bridge at Vile Parle on the day.

Senior Western Railway (WR) officials said they have already spoken to senior BMC officials, including top boss Ajoy Mehta, about this. The WR general manager and Mehta are expected to soon convene a meeting to discuss the renovation plan.  
“We have inspected the subway and are ready to improve it. But then there are approach roads on either side of the subway, which could pose a problem to the expansion plan,” said a senior WR.

WR officials said the subway is stable, but the approach roads need to be widened. “We have begun a preliminary study to check the feasibility of widening the approach roads on both sides. There are some buildings and a few obstructions on the roads,” said a BMC official.

Sources said Prabhu has promised funds for the reconstruction. The WR and the BMC will shell out R10 crore each on the project.

The subway turns into a motorist’s nightmare during peak hours. Over 3.5 lakh people use it every day. Heavy spells of rain leave it flooded. A few repairs were made to the crumbling subway in 2001. This time, though, the plan is to demolish it and build a subway that makes optimal use of the space.

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