Will WR agree to 5 hr weekly block?

Maharashtra Chief Secretary and former Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) Commissioner Ratnakar Gaikwad may have asked MMRDA on Friday to ensure that the metro's first line, Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar (VAG) line, be made operational by September 2012, but according to sources this is unlikely.

The reason being that the Western Railway (WR) is unwilling to accede to their request for a once a week, five-hour block on the line.

The MMRDA requires the WR to call for blocks because the under-construction VAG metro line is supposed to pass over the railway lines at Andheri. Last year, for the project the MMRDA requested the railway line to call for 123 blocks of four hours each. But the WR refused to give in, suggesting instead that they can at most provide for 57 blocks of four hours each.

According to the MMRDA, it is now requesting the railway line to provide for a five-hour block every week. They reportedly want at least 30 such blocks.

A source at the MMRDA said convincing the railway line would be difficult. "I don't think the WR will agree to our demand. They had earlier clearly told us that they could only give us 57 block of four hour each."

Speaking to Sunday MiD DAY, a WR Spokesperson said, " We have already received a proposal from Mumbai Metro One Private Limited (MMOPL) and we will suggest that it take a four hours' block. Extending the block's time to five hours will be difficult as it will impact WR's services and its commuters."

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