The year 2014 seems to have all the makings of a promising one for Mumbaikars, with crucial infrastructure projects scheduled to start operating this year. Each of the projects has been delayed by years, thanks to numerous missed deadlines and logistical hurdles, but they seem to be limping towards the finish line, finally. Once functional, the metro rail, monorail, and all-important Santacruz-Chembur Link Road (SCLR) are sure to change the way the city commutes.
Speaking to MiD DAY, MMRDA Joint Project Director Dilip Kawatkar said, “I cannot comment on the exact days when the metro and monorail will be thrown open, but I can say that it will be thrown open for commuters in 2014.” The 11.07-km Versova-Andheri- Ghatkopar (VAG) corridor is expected to be operational early next year. The SCLR, perhaps one of the world’s most delayed projects, is also expected to be operational by March-April.
Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar (VAG) Metro
Work on the VAG metro rail corridor started in 2008. The work was scheduled for completion by 2011. Predictably, several deadlines were missed, owing to various issues related to construction. Now, the construction work on the entire line has finally been completed, and trial runs have been in progress for the past few months. All that is standing between you and a ride on the metro rail is a certificate from the Commissioner of Railways Safety (CRS). Once operational, the VAG metro line will help connect the far-flung suburbs on the east and west of the city, the first rail network to do so. This could translate to less fuel and time consumption for commuters and motorists.
Cost: Rs 2,356 cr
Deadlines missed: 5
Opening by Early 2014
Phase-I of the Jacob Circle-Wadala-Chembur stretch of the monorail project will also be operational by early 2014. The construction of Jacob Circle-Wadala-Chembur started in 2008, and many deadlines have been missed ever since on December 2010, May 2011, November 2011, May 2012, December 2012 and September 2013. MMRDA claims that Jacob Circle-Wadala-Chembur monorail route will help eliminate nearly 28,000 taxi and auto rickshaw trips and take 25,000 private cars off the roads on this stretch, if people take a fancy to the smooth rides on the air-conditioned coaches. The city’s first monorail line is expected to cater to four lakh commuters.
Cost: Rs 2,700 cr
Deadlines missed: 6
Opening by Early 2014
Santacruz-Chembur Link Road (SCLR)
This important road will take motorists from Santacruz on the Western Express Highway (WEH) to Chembur near the Eastern Express Highway (EEH), bypassing Kalina and Kurla, bridging the gap between the suburbs. The road is expected to be thrown open to motorists by March-April this year. The groundwork for the link road was to start in September 2003, but started only in 2007. The SCLR has already missed 13 deadlines, and according to sources, will be operational by March-April 2014. In 2010, when the World Bank was funding the project, Roberto Zagha, India head of the financial institution, referred to SCLR as the world's most delayed road project. The interminable delays have ratcheted up the cost from an estimated Rs 114.8 crore to Rs 428 crore. Once completed, SCLR will reduce travel time radically from 120 minutes to just 20.
Cost: Rs 428 cr
Deadlines missed: 13
Opening by April 2014