With just six months left for the Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar Metro Rail deadline, it looks like traffic jams and bottlenecks on the WEH will continue to haunt motorists
In a five-part series, MiD DAY highlights the progress and status of various infrastructure projects in the city
Dreams of commuting by the city*s first Metro Rail between Versova and Ghatkopar will continue to remain just that for now, asu00a0 pending civil work and department clearances pose hurdles in meeting the deadline of June 2011.
However, MMRDA Commissioner Ratnakar Gaikwad said that worku00a0 is in full swing and MMRDA has all required permissions in place.
Commenting on meeting the June 2011 deadline,u00a0Gaikwad said, "It is the deadline set by Mumbai Metro One Private Limited (MMOPL) and we are happy that they are a year ahead of the official date (June 2012)u00a0as per the concession agreement between MMRDA and MMOPL. I assure that commuters will surely be able to travel in the Metro by Diwali next year."
On the other hand, architect Nitin Killawala who has filed a case against the Metro project in the High Court feels that MMRDA is misleading people by giving wrong information.
"The MMRDA commissioner*s comment that commuters will be able to ride in the Metro by next Diwali itself proves that the project will be delayed."
Killawala said that barely 6 km of the 11-km stretch has been completedu00a0 so far. This includes the viaduct or the tubular structure through which the Metro trains will pass.
Moreover, of the 424 pillars on the route, 370 have been erected. Of these, viaducts have been placed on 180 pillars.
The toughest task for the MMRDA is to construct a bridge over Andheri station and above the Western Express Highway.
MMRDA spokesperson and Joint Project Director Dilip Kawatkar said, "We are in constant touch with Western Railway on this issue.
MMRDA will carry out the construction work in such a manner that it does not cause inconvenience to commuters using railway services."
Kawatkar added that the stable iron bridge that will be placed over the WEH is ready at Kolkata and will be transported to Mumbai soon.
Work at night
The MMRDA will be able to work only during the night at road junctions as it can cause traffic jams during the daytime.
"Work is moving at snail*s pace. Even if MMRDA works round the clock, it will not be able to meet deadline," said Killawala.
He added that construction at 22 road junctions that dot the route connecting western suburbs to the eastern side is yet to begin.
Project name: Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar Metro
Cost: Rs 2,356 crore
Project started: March 2008
Official date of completion: August 2012
Expected date of completion: The civic work is expected to be completed by March 2011, after which trial runs will be conducted. MMRDA claims services will be operational by June 2011
REDUCED TRAVEL TIME: The entire 11.7 km distance will be covered in 21 minutes as against the present 90 minutes that travelling by road takes
LESS POLLUTION: Will ease traffic on the road, thereby helping to reduce vehicular pollution
Rail Access: Will provide rail based access to MIDC, SEEPZ and other commercial developments
East meets West: Will connect the western suburbs to the eastern suburbs through rail for the first time
Line 1: Versova-Andheri-Ghatkoparu00a0
Line 2: Charkop-Bandra-Mankhurd, will be constructed by Reliance Infrastructure.
This is the longest Metro train corridor (32 km) on Public-Private Partnership
Line 3: Colaba-Bandra (proposed)
Work is on track: MMOPL
Taking potshots at detractors, K P Maheshwari, Director of MMOPL, said, "More than 70 per cent of the civic work on the VAG corridor is complete and we are confident that the project will be complete by June-July 2011."
Maheshwari also said that the work on VAG corridor is being carried out round-the-clock and MMOPL has all necessary permissions to carry out the work because of which there is no chance of a delay in the project.
He said, "I think that people who are critcising us are not aware of the ground reality. I feel that before making any misleading comments they should do their homework.
We have also increased the number of cranes that place viaducts on the pillars. If required we will assign more cranes to speed up the process."
Maheshwari also said that more than 1,200 workers are working round the clock at the Metro carshed site at D N Nagar and that work at most of the metro stations is complete.