Mumbai Metro line 2B in BKC to shift for Thackerays' safety; threatens to cause delays
Residents and activists petitioning MMRDA for revision in Metro routes in other parts of the city ask how infra body budged while otherwise calling realignment a drain of public funds and waste of time
While MMRDA did not budge at all for a holy structure like the Atash Behram, they have readily made changes in the alignment of Line 2B (DN Nagar to Mandale) to not stand in the way of Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray's under construction Matoshree 2.0. The line has been shifted around 10-14 metres away from the median of the BKC road, where it was previously supposed to pass from.
The construction of a seven-storey building - being referred to as 'Matoshree 2.0' in Sena circles - spread over 10,000 sq ft is nearing completion in Kalanagar, Bandra East. The building is coming up opposite Thackeray's current residence Matoshree, and also has an entrance from the BKC side.
The construction of a seven-storey building - being referred to as 'Matoshree 2.0' in Sena circles - is nearing completion in Kalanagar. Pic/Rane Ashish
'Didn't want to face delays'
The decision to shift the alignment was taken over a month ago. A source from MMRDA said, "As per the earlier plans, the Metro line 2A and the BKC flyover were passing via the median of the BKC road over one another. But, changes have been made in the Metro alignment as it passes in front of the Sena chief's under construction building.
We did not want the project to face any delays if any safety-related problems were to come up, also there were issues related to the construction of the Metro station on the north-bound stretch of the BKC road, near the family court junction. Taking all of these important things into consideration, it was decided that the alignment of the Metro line 2B will be shifted around 10-14 meters away from the median and will now pass close to the south-bound footpath between BKC junction and family court junction."
Aaditya and Uddhav Thackeray
Sources added that the alignment was also facing issues due to the current landing of the skywalk, which is why shifting it to the other side would help in carrying out the work without any problem.
Another source said, "The to and fro stretch of the flyover will have view cutters and noise barriers." Around three weeks ago, MMRDA even moved the barricades kept at the median of the BKC road between BKC junction and family court junction.
Other citizens ignored
MMRDA seems to have not shown the same consideration to issues being raised by citizens living along other Metro corridors. The most prominent example of the same being the refusal to budge for the Metro 3 line, which is going to pass below the Parsi community's holy Atash Behrams. The Parsi community went as far as the Supreme Court to put forward their case of the construction being damaging for the temples, but the tunnelling for the project was allowed to continue.
Reacting to the 2B alignment, Noshir Dadrawala, one of the trustees of the Bombay Parsi Punchayet said, " This clearly shows that for MMRDA politicians are a higher priority than the religious sentiments of an entire community. They would rather upset the minority than a political lobby. Destroying the religious sanctity of [structures of] the Parsi community, that is causing the well water to deplete was conveniently done in the name of development but someone's security has suddenly become a more important concern."
The demands of citizens residing along the New Link road in the western suburbs between Juhu and Bandra to make the 2B line underground have also not been considered. Meanwhile, Ghatkopar residents and members of the Ghatkopar People's Forum have also been demanding a partial change in the alignment of the Wadala-Thane-Kasarvadavli line 4 to make it pass through the Eastern Express Highway, but alignment has been refused for that as well.
'Not ready to listen'
Juhu resident and architect Nitin Killawala said, "BKC has a wide road and no residences along the alignment. We're demanding an underground Metro, which had been previously approved by MMRDA. Moreover, elevated metros on Mumbai roads are not possible if legal and safety regulations are to be adhered to."
Activist and filmmaker Ashoke Pandit said, "This change in alignment in BKC proves that the entire overhead 2B Metro has been planned without any application of the mind. We have been raising the issue of the ill-planned 2B Metro for which no proper permissions have been taken. They are not ready to listen to the citizens and hence, have created a mess and been stopped by the courts."
Inputs by Arita Sarkar
The Metro 2B line: All you need to know
- The Metro Line 2B from D N Nagar to Mandale stretches along 23.643 km. It will be an elevated corridor with 22 stations.
- It will provide connectivity along the Western and Eastern Express Highways, Western Railway, Central Railway, Monorail, Metro Line 1 (Ghatkopar to Versova), Line 2A
- (Dahisar to D N Nagar), Metro Line 4 (Wadala to Kasarvadavali) and Metro Line 3 (Colaba to SEEPZ).
- A dedicated depot is being planned at Mandale spread over 22 hectares.
- The line would reduce the current travel time between 50 per cent to 75 per cent.
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