Mumbai: Roof of Rs 9-crore Kurla subway could end up on your head

Updated: 11 January, 2018 21:50 IST | Rajendra B Aklekar | Mumbai

Despite repairs to subway following mid-day's report on its pathetic state soon after it was inaugurated in October last year, the underpass is again coming apart

The badly damaged, leaking portions of the Kurla subway roof
The badly damaged, leaking portions of the Kurla subway roof

The next time you take the Kurla subway, you might want to watch your head. Just two months after mid-day reported how the newly-opened subway - connecting the western and eastern sides of the suburb - had fallen into neglect, parts of its ceiling have begun to fall apart. According to BMC officials, leakages from railway pumps are eating into the plaster and cement of the roof, and heavily damaging it. The underpass was one of BMC's most ambitious projects.

The badly damaged, leaking portions of the Kurla subway roof
The badly damaged, leaking portions of the Kurla subway roof

A visit to the site also showed how the ceiling had collapsed at several sections of the 130m-long subway. The much-delayed underpass was built at a cost of around Rs 9 crore. While it was thrown open to public in October last year, a month later, mid-day reported how citizens had defaced it by littering and spitting on the walls. Water had also started seeping inside the subway on the western, as well as the eastern entry and exit points.

Water has been leaking inside the Kurla subway on the western, as well as the eastern entry and exit points
Water has been leaking inside the Kurla subway on the western, as well as the eastern entry and exit points

Though cosmetic action was taken following the report, the subway continues to rot due to negligence by authorities. When mid-day visited the subway earlier this week, we found that the false ceiling at multiple places under Platforms 8, 1 and 1A of Kurla station, had collapsed due to water seepage.

When contacted, BMC said that the Railways needed to take responsibility for the leakage. "There is a railway water pump in the east side that has been a source of complaint. Further, water from the tracks is seeping below," said a senior civic official. Divisional railway officers, however, said the subway at Kurla is meant to offer east-west connectivity and the Railways have no role to play in it.

Sunil Udasi, chief public relations officer, Central Railway, said there is zero possibility of leakages from railway water pumps as pumps on the east side aren't functional. "And, on the west side, we have no pumps," he said. "The subway has become an orphan. Between the BMC and the Railways, no one is taking responsibility to maintain it. The ceiling collapses are dangerous for the subway and the authorities need to act fast to fix the problem," said Jitendra Gupta, social activist from Kurla.

It may be recalled that work on the subway under Kurla station's tracks began in 2002, but was stuck mid-way due to several technical problems, including findings of hard rock underneath and ground water seeping in. The subway was almost ready by 2005, but had to be stalled again as BMC refused to give an entry or exit point until a feasibility study was conducted.

In January 2006, Veermata Jeejabai Technical Institute (VJTI) in its feasibility report had stated that the vehicular subway project was not practical due to water-logging in the monsoon as there were sewer lines underneath. The project went back to the planning desk. In the final plan, BMC decided to convert the subway into a pedestrian underpass. Finally, work for the project was commissioned in 2013 and completed in 2017.

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First Published: 11 January, 2018 18:09 IST

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