While the first Metro corridor recommended in the Mumbai Metro master plan 11 years ago rolled out in the city last month, the rest of the plan, which had originally envisaged the creation of a 146.5-km network by 2021, has undergone sweeping changes.
Proposals for a few Metro lines have been dropped, while a few others have been merged to finally create a concrete plan for three more Metro rail corridors at present – Colaba-Bandra-Seepz, Dahisar-Bandra-Mankhurd, and Wadala-Thane-Kasarvadavali. These lines, along with the already commissioned 11.4-km Versova-Andheri Ghatkopar Metro, will create a network of 114.1 kilometres connecting the suburbs, island city, commercial hubs, major suburban railway stations and the airport.
The tendering process for the Colaba-Bandra-Seepz Metro has begun and the project is likely to be commissioned by 2020. The other two corridors are still on the drawing board. The master plan had originally designed most of the Metro connectivity as elevated and the rest underground. After difficulties in constructing the elevated Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar line, the state government decided to build all the three priority lines underground, despite the surge in cost.
UPS Madan, metropolitan commissioner at the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), said, “Now we are focusing on these three corridors. We haven’t scrapped the plan for a few others. They may be implemented later.”Originally, apart from the Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar Metro, the master plan had recommended a Colaba-Mahim-Charkop Metro, and Mahim Kurla-Mankhurd Metro in the first phase. In the second phase, the plan had recommended a Charkop-Dahisar and a Ghatkopar-Mulund Metro, and in the final phase, the plan had proposed Metros from Bandra Kurla Complex-Kanjur Marg, Andheri-Dahisar, Hutatma Chowk-Ghatkopar and Sewri-Prabhadevi.The 21.8-km partially underground Hutatma Chowk-Ghatkopar line was later redesigned as Carnac Bundar-Wadala, and eventually scrapped as there is already a suburban railway line on the alignment. The rest of the third phase is now in cold storage.
MMRDA has extensively reworked the first two phases. The first phase has been reconfigured and extended to Seepz, an exports promotion zone, in one arm, and Dahisar, originally part of the second phase, in another arm. Connectivity to the airport, which was earlier planned only in the third phase as part of the Bandra Kurla Complex-Kanjur Marg corridor, was also expedited and included in the Colaba-Bandra-Seepz Metro corridor.“We also reworked the Ghatkopar-Mulund line that the master plan had proposed to run as the Wadala-Teen Hath Naka (Thane)-Kasarvadavali Metro to extend connectivity till Thane.