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No sign of metro II

While the Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar metro rail struggles to be functional, the second phase of the Rs 11,500 crore Charkop-Bandra-Mankhurd metro rail is embroiled in shoddy planning and blame-game even before work starts. 

Though the Central Railway (CR) gave its nod three years ago, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) and Mumbai Metro Transport Private Ltd (MMTPL) have not started work on the 32-km metro rail. CR officials are now asking the state to expedite the project.

“We have asked the state government to speed things up on the Charkop-Bandra-Mankhurd metro rail within a fixed time frame,” said a senior CR official.

Sources in the railways said that they had given in-principal approval for carrying out work in January this year. The approval is valid for a period of 12 months.

Phase-II of this metro rail crisscrosses over railway lines at Kurla and Mankhurd on the Central line and at Bandra on the Western line. “There is need for a time-bound approach towards its execution otherwise it will become difficult to plan anything in the future. Everyone blames the Railways but nothing is said about the government’s shoddy approach,” complained another CR official.

Unacceptable delay
The MMRDA blames the MMTPL (one arm of the Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group). “The MMTPL wants us to give 100 per cent right of way (ROW) before starting work, which hasn’t been possible until now. In case the in-principal approval provided by the Railways ends, we will renew it,” said a MMRDA official on condition of anonymity.

The ROW would allow executing work without any hindrance and until now only 51 per cent ROW has been provided.

Sources said that ROW has been given on 15 metro rail stations of the total 27 stations on this alignment and that in September they had asked MMTPL to commence work. “We have requested MMTPL to begin work on stretches where ROW has been given until now. We hope it will start soon,” said Dilip Kawatkhar, spokesperson, MMRDA.

However, sources in MMTPL claim that they were supposed to receive complete ROW by April 2011 and there are several uncleared issues. “Several problems need to be addressed. For instance, the issue of the car shed and depot at Mankhurd and Charkop is still pending,” said a MMTPL official. The MMRDA was to provide 19.7 hectares of land at Charkop and 24 hectares land at Mankhurd.

Local residents and shopkeepers at many areas along the stretch have been opposing this project tooth and nail. With numerous obstacles yet to be addressed, the actual commencement of work anytime soon seems difficult. 

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