Rs 28-cr Bandra Terminus Railway Over Bridge blocked by slums

The Rs 28-crore Road Over Bridge, which is supposed to connect Bandra (W) station and Bandra Terminus, is stuck since 2012 as a 300-sq-m plot belonging to BMC is yet to be cleared of slums

Onewould, on seeing this structure between Bandra (West) and Bandra Terminus railway stations, assume it to be not unlike the circus ramp that launches the daring motorcycle stuntman.

However, this bridge which is supposed to connect the two stations currently ends abruptly after some metres of an upwards-inclined road, and has been remained so since 2012. The reason? Slums are hindering its progress. The one-kilometre Road Over Bridge (ROB) was supposed to ease movement of passengers from Bandra suburban station to Bandra Terminus.

The project has been stuck since 2012 because the BMC has not handed over the land to Western Railway. Railway sources say it is difficult to clear the land, since the occupying slums are a political vote bank. Pics/Sameer Markande
The project has been stuck since 2012 because the BMC has not handed over the land to Western Railway. Railway sources say it is difficult to clear the land, since the occupying slums are a political vote bank. Pics/Sameer Markande

Work began on the Rs 28-crore project in late 2011, but soon stopped after constructing barely 100 metres of an upward-sloping road beginning from Bandra Terminus, since the further patch of plot over which it is supposed to pass is populated by slums.

Going nowhere
The tall structure stands near the BEST bus depot outside the Terminus. The 8.5-metre wide girder is supported by a couple of pillars, and that’s it. Just ahead of it, there are nearly 50 two-storey shanties populating the piece of land on which the bridge is supposed to be built.

A railway track adjacent to the road has filth and garbage lying all around and hardly any trains pass over it. The plot belongs to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation. Senior railway officials from Western Railway (WR) said the civic body is yet to hand over the 300 square metres of the land to allow them to complete work.

Railway sources alleged that the slum proves to be a good political vote bank and, so, is very difficult to clear. “We are looking at completing this project by April 2015,” said Sharat Chandrayan, chief PRO, Western Railway.

A major fire had engulfed shanties here a couple of years ago, and the tin huts made a resurgent return as two-storeyed concrete buildings. Recently, a coordination meeting between the civic body and WR was to take up this issue.

“The matter has not come to me yet,” claimed Sanjay Deshmukh, additional municipal commissioner. The project was part of the expansion of Bandra Terminus, which is now ready and operational. The project is being built to ensure passengers are not fleeced by auto rickshaw drivers, who overcharge people to ferry them to Bandra Terminus.

Moreover, it was also supposed to ensure people don’t have to walk on the crowded foot overbridges (FOB) of Bandra while hauling heavy luggage to Bandra Terminus. The BEST bus depot outside the Terminus is infested with drug addicts. The ROB, when completed, will land close to the ticket counter at Bandra (West).

1 km
The proposed length of the road overbridge which was supposed to ease movement from Bandra suburban station to Bandra Terminus.

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