While the citys development authority is rushing to complete the long-awaited Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar Metro corridor,there are still some hurdles that could slacken the pace of the project.
The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA),which had originally expected the project to be completed in 2011,had revised the deadline to the end of this year. However,the agency still does not have complete right of way or the ownership of land along the routes alignment.
A state government notification dated December 26 had directed the Maheshwar temple trust in Ghatkopar to hand over a part of its property,one of the last remaining right of way hurdles,to the district collector to be given to the MMRDA.
However,the trust is still hesitant to give up its land,which is required for the construction of Asalfa station on the 11-kilometre Metro line.
We have been here for so many years and all of a sudden they expect us to hand over our land, said Ramesh Mane,secretary of the trust. A court case is still going on. How can the government issue a notification even before the court has given its order?
Mane said the trust had filed a case in the City Civil Court against MMRDA in 2009 and after being refused relief had challenged the order in the High Court. The MMRDA,which has been negotiating for two years,has now given the trust time till the end of this month,but Mane is firm that the trust will put up a fight and refuse to hand over possession.
MMRDA Deputy Metropolitan Commissioner Anil Wankhede said as per the notification,the ownership of the land is automatically transferred in the name of the government one month after the date of the notification. Now its just a question of handing over possession to the collectors office. We will arrange for police protection to take over the possession.
Another factor that could delay the completion of the Metro route is the construction of a bridge over the railway tracks at Andheri as the Western Railway needs to grant blocks.
Metropolitan Commissioner Rahul Asthana said the Western Railway has sanctioned 91 blocks but has not given a schedule yet. He expects the blocks to start in two weeks.
We are not blaming the railways,but the deadline depends on the blocks. If everything goes as per schedule,we may be able to complete the project by November. But its a very optimistic deadline, Asthana said.