Furore among Bandra-SV Road residents after they stumble upon the fact that a station originally meant to be near National College has been moved up to the busy tri-junction area near the HP pump
Construction work for the Metro 2B line on at Sadhu Vaswani Garden on SV Road on Monday. Pic/Shadab Khan
Residents of Tata Blocks, Bandra’s plush Parsi residential colony, and other stakeholders on SV Road have sought an explanation from the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) after the latter decided to shift the location of the National College station, which is part of the Metro 2B corridor.
Locals have alleged that the decision was made discreetly, without informing stakeholders. They also claimed they were neither informed nor suggestions or objections were sought from them.
Residents and stakeholders discuss the development on Monday
As per the earlier plan for the Metro 2B corridor, there are to be two stations in Bandra West—'Bandra' (which will be coming up near the Lucky restaurant signal) and 'National College' near Jivan Kiran Bungalow opposite Railway Colony. According to residents, the National College station has now been shifted opposite Tata Blocks starting from Grace Galaxy hotel and extending up to the Maruti Auto Vista showroom on SV Road.
On Monday, unhappy residents under the aegis of the Varde Marg Residents' Association wrote an objection letter to the MMRDA project director seeking an explanation. Meanwhile, Tata Blocks residents have started a signature campaign.
Ongoing construction work for the Metro 2B line on SV Road near Tata Blocks in Bandra West on Monday. Pics/Shadab Khan
The change in the plan only came to light when Tata Blocks residents approached the MMRDA last week after the turning in front of their entrance was blocked, inconveniencing senior citizens. Realising something was amiss, they started inquiring around and found out about the new plan. Alarmed, they decided to seek clarification from the MMRDA.
As per sources, part of the Sadhu Vaswani Garden will also be affected in order to facilitate exit and entry points for Metro 2B.
Zameer Cyrus Palamkote, resident and joint chairman of Varde Marg Residents’ Association, said: “As stated in our objection letter, the decision to discreetly shift the Metro station goes against sound principles of town planning. It will also adversely impact Sadhu Vaswani Garden, the only green space in the area, and has disastrous consequences on vehicular and pedestrian movement at the HP Junction.”
He added, “We have no objection to the project. We are not objecting to it merely because it is coming opposite our residences. We are against the way MMRDA changed the original plan without taking residents and other stakeholders into confidence. Also shifting the station towards one of the busiest junctions on SV, Road in our opinion, will be absolutely catastrophic.”
Dr Anand Shroff, of Dr Shroff Eye Hospital, said, “Access to medical care will be compromised with commercial transport vehicles parked at our hospital entrance. Having an exit close to the main junction compromises the smooth traffic flow and having an exit at the park will result in the unnecessary cutting of old trees. This part of SV Road does not have the necessary width for a station and the station being away from the business and education hubs on Linking Road will result in unnecessary rickshaw travel for all passengers.”
Ramola Rodrigues, a teacher who resides in the area, said, “We sincerely urge representatives of all political parties in Bandra to please rise above party politics and assist us in resolving this matter, in the interest of our beloved Bandra.”
Dr Anand Shroff
Xerxes Parakh, a senior citizen residing at Tata Blocks, said, “I hope that the esteemed trustees of Bai Hirabai Tata Memorial Trust and even our Emeritus Chairman Ratan Tata challenges this move by MMRDA, for the welfare of not only Tata Blocks residents but also all residents of Bandra.”
He added, “The move to shift the station backwards seems illogical to us. They have ended up reducing the distance between two stations thus questioning the very need for two stations at such a short distance. Also, previously the station's location was such that it was more beneficial for students and shoppers. Podar School, MMK college, National College and Thadomal Shahani college are all near the previous location. We expect MMRDA to be transparent and explain this to us, the stakeholders.”
Another resident, Noshir Dubash, who is also the treasurer of Bandra Tata Blocks Welfare Association, said, “As always, the dutiful and peaceful Parsi community is once again being taken for granted. Citizens of the area, the rightful stakeholders in such projects, were neither consulted nor informed. Government authorities are trampling the voices of reason.”
Neale Murray, resident and trustee of Celebrate Bandra, termed Sadhu Vaswani Garden the one and only lung of the neighbourhood. “If the MMRDA uses this garden space for Metro work, it will be an ecological disaster. Mumbai, especially Bandra, is losing its green and open spaces at an alarming rate,” he said.
The 23.5-km elevated corridor was earlier planned over the Linking Road. The detailed project report, submitted by the MMRDA in 2017 for the 2B line had raised the hackles of eminent architects, transport experts, hospital and school authorities and residents of Khar, Santacruz, JVPD Scheme and Vile Parle.
MMRDA officials told mid-day they would be able to comment only after going through the letter. “The letter is still in the dispatch section and we haven't seen it yet,”one of them said.
Swapna Mhatre, former corporator of ward 100, H West ward, said, “What is the objection of the residents? If the MMRDA has changed the station, there might some strong reason for it. In the earlier spot, there was a culvert, and other was work going on. Hence it might not be suitable for entry and exit. Metro is for facilitating the public with last-mile connectivity. The matter hasn’t come to me yet, but I will talk to these residents and find out what are their objections and try to help them out.”
Day in Feb that objection letter was written
Year project report was submitted