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Underground Metro may link SoBo to airport

MMRDA seeks state's approval for 33-km Metro-3 corridor from South Mumbai to Seepz via Bandra

South Mumbai residents may have a direct underground link to the international and domestic airports if the state government approves MMRDA's plan for Metro-3, a 33-km underground rail corridor connecting Colaba-Bandra-Seepz.


The Metro-3 corridor is 33 km long and will run underground
from Colaba in south Mumbai to Seepz in Andheri


According to top sources from the government, the MMRDA proposal has recently been submitted for the state's approval.

The project, with an estimated budget of Rs 21,600 crore, is expected to come up before the state cabinet for approval. Once the MMRDA gets the nod for the project, officials said they would begin the implementation right away.

The Metro-3 will be an amalgamated corridor and will incorporate Metro routes along Colaba-Bandra and a section of the Mahim-BKC-airport-Kanjurmarg corridor, which was earlier devised for Metro-6.

It will have 27 stations from Colaba to Seepz, with a proposed car shed on the Jogeshwari-Vikhroli Link Road (JVLR). In June 2010, the state had approved the Colaba-Bandra corridor with a 9-km underground section from Colaba to Mahalaxmi and an elevated corridor from Mahalaxmi to Bandra.

Before it was approved, the government gave the go-ahead for Metro-2 connecting Charkop-Bandra-Mankhurd, and though the groundbreaking ceremony was done by President Pratibha Patil, the project did not take off, and will now be incorporated in Metro-3.

Roadblocks
According to sources, the Colaba-Bandra Metro-3, with a car shed proposed at Mahalaxmi racecourse, has several hurdles before it can become a reality. The state received a jolt when the Centre refused to increase the cap of 40 per cent viability gap funding.

Hopes to recover the investment through commercial exploitation of the line have also fallen flat.

For, a report by a professional consultancy firm is believed to have advised that commercial exploitation is possible on the elevated section only with a further investment of Rs 100 crore for additional facilities. The project, if implemented, will offer returns to the tune of Rs 300 crore, sources said.

Talking money

For Metro-3, MMRDA is banking on around Rs 11,500 crore worth of funds from the Japan International Cooperation Agency. The remainder of Rs 21,600 crore will come from the contributions by the Centre and the state government and from the MMRDA.

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