Mumbai: Underground tunnel work for Metro 3 gives residents sleepless nights

Jan 02, 2019, 18:30 IST | Arita Sarkar

As underground tunnel boring work for Metro 3 reaches Marol Gaothan, residents allege that the constant vibrations have left them unable to snooze and their old homes with gaping cracks

Mumbai: Underground tunnel work for Metro 3 gives residents sleepless nights
An aerial view of the Metro III project site in Marol

After a year of noisily buzzing its way into the lives and peace of Marol gaothan residents, the Metro III's tunnel boring machine (TBM) has now allegedly made a 'crack' for their homes.

Since the past 10 days, night owl TBM has allegedly widened cracks in some old houses, and created new ones in others. Several senior citizens, including Audrey Nunes, 65, who reside in the area, have complained of frequent headaches due to the constant vibration. "When I sleep, it feels as though there is a grinding mill underneath my pillow, and the windows keep rattling. People are getting headaches because they're not able to sleep properly.

Residents allege that the machine has widened some cracks in their homes and in some places, introduced new ones. Pics/Shadab Khan
Residents allege that the machine has widened some cracks in their homes and in some places, introduced new ones. Pics/Shadab Khan

We understand that the work is necessary and the entire city will benefit from it. But do we have to bear the cost of development?" she said, adding that the Metro officials should be a little considerate towards their problems. Nunes said that while the Metro 3 work has been going on for a long time, it has gotten worse since December 23.

Residents allege that the machine has widened some cracks in their homes and in some places, introduced new ones. Pics/Shadab Khan

Cracking on
Apart from the noise, it is now creating cracks in homes, claim citizens. While some of the cracks that have appeared on the houses are old and expanding, other residents have complained of new ones over the past few days. One of them is Kalpana Harshad Dhuri, who has watched an 'L' shaped crack on the wall of her home expand over the past week.

The boring machine is allegedly expanding old cracks and making new ones
The boring machine is allegedly expanding old cracks and making new ones

Dhuri's house is more than 80 years old and was redeveloped in 2000. "The crack appeared a couple of months ago. But, since the tunnel boring machine has been travelling under our homes, the crack has been widening and the plaster is coming off. The vibrations are louder in the night because it is quieter. We're unable to sleep without constantly worrying about our house," she said.

The boring machine is allegedly expanding old cracks and making new ones

Meeting with MMRC
After many other residents shared Dhuri's plight, Godfrey Pimenta, a citizen activist and one of her neighbours who has also felt TBM's vibrations decided to take up the issue with the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC) officials on December 31. "In the meeting, we explained to the officials that we were unable to sleep at night since the work takes place at odd hours, from 11 pm to 6 am. We asked them to work from 6 am till midnight instead, and stop using the machine at night. Even though they promised to do so, on Monday they stopped work at 3 am and then started at 5 am once again," he said.

Metro III work has been going on in Marol for around a year
Metro III work has been going on in Marol for around a year

During the meeting, the residents also brought up the issue of the structural damage their buildings were suffering due to the construction work. "One of the dilapidated homes in the gaothan, Mary House, was repaired by MMRC. But so many other buildings have suffered similar damage and it is unfair of MMRC to ignore those. They should at least take up repairs of the structurally weak buildings which have been damaged by Metro construction," Pimenta added.

After speaking to MMRC didn't yield fruitful results, residents affected by the Metro work are going to hold a protest on Saturday.
After speaking to MMRC didn't yield fruitful results, residents affected by the Metro work are going to hold a protest on Saturday.

Pimenta said that since MMRC didn't address the residents' issues, they have no choice but to hold a protest. "We tried to resolve the issue in an amicable manner, but there was no solution. We will now conduct a protest on Saturday against the Metro officials," he said.

MMRC says
Speaking to mid-day about the allegations, a MMRC spokesperson said, "'No cracks have developed due to tunnelling activity. Construction activities are carried out by following requisite safety norms. The vibrations observed at the Marol site were within permissible limits and absolutely harmless."

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