Residents of Navi Mumbai will have to wait until February 2015 for the first phase of the Navi Mumbai Metro project to become operational.
The construction work of the first phase of the metro, which is the Belapur to Pendhar route, is approximately eight months behind schedule. City and Industrial Development Corporation of Maharashtra Ltd. (CIDCO) started construction around ten months ago. It was supposed to be completed by May 2014. Initially, the construction work was going as per schedule but technical issues and policy-making decisions in the last six months have obstructed the pace of the metro work.
The Belapur to Pendhar route will have 11 stations. The construction of these stations was supposed to be started in two stages before June this year. However, CIDCO has failed to award contracts for the construction of half of the stations. Construction is yet to begin on the stations that have been awarded contracts.
CIDCO changed its earlier decision regarding the size of the metro coaches after consulting the state government three months ago. “When we came across reports stating that new phases of metro rails in cities like Delhi and Bengaluru will have 3.2 metre-wide coaches, we changed our earlier decision of using 2.9 metre-wide coaches. Discussions, consultation, re-planning and re-designing took a considerable amount of time. In addition, construction of metro stations has not yet begun due to some technical difficulties. These factors are going to delay the completion of the first stage of the first phase of the metro project by six to eight months,” said a senior CIDCO official, requesting anonymity.
When contacted, Tanaji Satre, managing director of CIDCO, claimed that the construction of Belapur-Pendhar metro line would be completed within the deadline. “We have asked contractors to work in the rainy season as well to compensate for the delay. Earlier, contractors were not supposed to continue the work in rainy season. So we will now be able to start the metro rail within the deadline,” said Satre.