Merely 1.2 km remains to be widened on Hans Bughra Road, where the BMC is unable to remove encroachments. Pic/SAYYED SAMEER ABEDI
Once again, BMC's incompetence will cost Mumbai heavily, as much as Rs 743 crore this time, for the same work that would have cost just Rs 18 crore. After watching the civic body fail for five years to clear encroachment and ease traffic on the Santacruz-Chembur Link Road (SCLR), the city's other planning authority, MMRDA, will now build a flyover in order to resolve the issue.
Traffic jams have been a long-standing issue on the Santacruz-Chembur Link Road (SCLR), with encroachments creating a bottleneck on the important stretch. It was to ease this traffic that the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) started planning a Rs 80-crore road widening project way back in 2011-12.
While the civic body has partially completed the widening of CST Road and Hans Bughra Road at a cost of Rs 60 crore, the project has been stuck all these years because of a 1.2-km stretch on Hans Bughra Road, where the municipal corporation has not been able to clear the encroachment there.
This is crucial, as it would have eased traffic flow on the SCLR and on CST Road outside Mumbai university.
Most of the Santacruz-Chembur Link Road has been widened, except for a 1.2-km stretch that continues to hold up traffic movement. Pic/SAYYED SAMEER ABEDI
MMRDA steps in
After watching the municipal corporation repeatedly fail over five years to remove the squatters, the Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (MMRDA) is now finally going ahead with its own plan to build a flyover and ease the traffic load on the road. The only problem with this is that the flyover will cost a whopping Rs 743 crore to achieve the same objective that the BMC could have got in Rs 18 crore.
A senior official from the MMRDA said, "Had the civic body completed the road widening, there would have been no need for a flyover. But as there are a lot of encroachment and land acquisition issues, we decided to go ahead with our plan."
And, unlike the BMC, the MMRDA will not take five years to start work on the pending stretch.
"We are in the final stages of land acquisition and should be done in a few months. Our work on the second phase should begin by October this year," added the official.
Contractors have already been appointed and work is in process. The flyover will be built in two phases — the first arm will connect the SCLR to the Western Express Highway, while the second will connect to the Bandra-Kurla Complex, for which land will have to be acquired from Mumbai university.
BMC not giving up
Meanwhile, there seems to be some confusion, with the BMC insisting it will also continue with its project, leading to duplication of work and further waste of money.
Sanjay Darade, chief engineer (roads) at BMC, said, "We are still working on the plan to widen this road."
A senior civic official involved closely with the project said, "Clearing the encroachment has become an issue, as we tried to move them earlier, only for them to return to the spot. Another big setback was the fact that we have to acquire land from a number of agencies, not just the Mumbai university. The process has been going on."
Datta T, chief engineer of MMRDA, who is handling the flyover project, said, "There is no problem of lack of coordination, because the plan has been in existence for almost two years. Several meetings have been held with the civic body to get permissions for the flyover, as we need to dig up underground utilities wherever required."
Rs 60cr: Cost of road-widening work already completed
Rs 18cr: Cost of road-widening work remaining
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