Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has offered the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) the job of constructing at least two Metro corridors in the city, even though the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC) and the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development a (MMRDA) have developed in-house capabilities to construct such corridors. The development comes a month after he visited the DMRC office in Delhi.
Sources said the DMRC, which had built a 200-km-plus Metro network in Delhi and had also taken up turnkey assignments in Kochi and Jaipur, had already indicated to the Maharashtra government that it could take up the Metro projects proposed along the Dahisar-BKC-Mankhurd route (40 kms) and the Dahisar-Andheri (East) corridor (18 km).
Fadnavis is said to be keen on commissioning 109 kilometres of Metro services before the next Assembly polls in 2019. “This could only be achieved if works on multiple Metro routes are taken up simultaneously,” said a senior government official. The sources said Fadnavis believed that the MMRC and the MMRDA lacked skilled manpower to construct multiple corridors at the same time.
The CM has already asked the DMRC to revise the master plan for Mumbai Metro and submit a detailed project report for planned corridors. The agency was associated with preparation of the original master plan for the Mumbai Metro in 2003 as well.
The sources indicated that the DMRC had also formally communicated its willingness to provide technical assistance for the remaining Metro corridors.
Incidentally, the work to the DMRC is planned to be awarded on a turnkey basis. The government will pay a deposit to the DMRC for implementation of the project, which in turn, will issue tenders on the state government’s behalf for appointing contractors for the project.
Government officials confirmed that this would be the first time when it would rope in an external government agency for an infrastructure project. Senior government bureaucrats are however skeptical about the 2019 deadline.
“The challenges of building a Metro route in Mumbai is vastly different from that in cities like Delhi and Kochi,” said one of them.
To fast-track Metro work, the Fadnavis government has also overturned the previous government’s policy decision of building all future Metro networks underground.