Residents vs Mumbai Metro: Powai lakeside to be off limits for walkers from 2018

Updated: 24 November, 2017 18:05 IST | Laxman Singh | Mumbai

Civic body forced to abruptly halt Rs 6.5-crore beautification plan for Powai lake after MMRDA decides to seal promenade for elevated Metro 6 project

Even as citizen groups fight tooth and nail to save the green lung of Goregaon's Aarey Milk Colony from destruction on account of the Metro 3 line car shed, a fresh casualty of the proposed rapid transit project has emerged. The Powai lake promenade, which is the mainstay of suburban city joggers and offers a breathtaking view of the 125-year-old lake, will soon make way for the Metro 6 project connecting Swami Samarth Nagar and Vikhroli. The proposal was cleared earlier last month, mid-day has learnt. The work will be finalised by 2018 end and the actual civil work is scheduled to take off in 2019.

The Metro 6 route (in brown), approved by the state government on October 23, shows the elevated corridor to be passing along the promenade at Powai lake 

Proposed plan
Sources in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) confirmed that it would be taking over the 1.8-km lake promenade to carry out work related to the elevated Metro line, which will run over the Jogeshwari-Vikhroli Link Road (JVLR) in Powai. The state approved the project on October 23.

While the MMRDA is yet to share a detailed plan of the alignment of the Metro line, sources said that apart from a 300m-stretch near Pawarwadi -- right at the end of the promenade -- the rest of the area will be cleared for the project. The existing two FOBs on the promenade are also likely to be demolished for the project.

The entire promenade is likely to be razed for the project 

The 14.5 km-long Metro 6 project is likely to cost MMRDA around R6,672 crore. It will have 13 stations, including one at Powai Lake, an official said. Sources said that an MMRDA-appointed contractor has already conducted a ground survey near Pawarwadi Ghat next to the IIT-Bombay compound wall to understand the soil strata.

No beautification for now
The development comes as a big blow to the BMC, which had earlier this year begun Phase II of the Powai lake beautification and redevelopment project. As part of the R6.5 crore-project, the BMC had planned to set up a musical fountain inside the lake, install CCTV cameras and LED lights, and even construct a cycling path along the stretch.

While beautification work in Powai had already begun earlier this year, the MMRDA last month sent a letter to the BMC informing that it would be taking over the promenade. Due to the unexpected development, the BMC has had to cancel all tenders, a source said.

Area where the ground survey was carried out

A senior official from the Water Special Projects (WSP) department, who is looking after the beautification work said, "MMRDA had sent a letter to the BMC and informed that they will need the Powai lake promenade area for Metro 6."

Speaking to mid-day, Anant Kadam, chief Engineer of WSP department, confirmed the development. "After we got to know about the Metro work we have cancelled tenders for long-term projects. There is no point going ahead with the project as it will just be a waste of money," he said.

He added, "Only short-term development work will continue. This includes stopping sewerage ingress in Powai lake and monitoring system of levels of dissolved oxygen in the lake will be carried out."

While citizen groups are supporting the Metro project, they said they'd ensure that the promenade isn't razed.

VA Appukuttam from Powai's advanced locality management (ALM) said, "I am not aware of this development. However, if this is happening then we are not going to oppose the Metro Line as it is for the benefit of the public. But, we will try and safeguard the promenade."

Despite repeated attempts, Dilip Kawathkar. deputy metropolitan commissioner was unavailable for comment.

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First Published: 24 November, 2017 18:03 IST

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