WHILE THE Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Limited (MMRCL) has asked private apartment complexes and other private institutions located in close proximity to the Metro 3 corridor to avail a facility whereby subways would be built to directly connect their properties to the nearest underground station, the project may find no takers due to the high premium that private parties need to pay.
“Commercial buildings and government offices can afford to pay for such direct connectivity. But it is very tough for others to afford the construction of private subways to stations,” a senior MMRCL official said.
In November, MMRCL had asked private apartment complexes and other institutions to avail the proposed facility and sought expressions of interest for the same. It was proposed that private parties and MMRCL would equally share the cost of building the subways.
The Metro 3 route would connect 30 employment clusters, government and private offices, more than a dozen educational institutions, Mumbai University’s Kalina campus, 11 major hospitals, 10 major transportation hubs and 25 religious and recreation areas. It was anticipated that some private entities would show interest in building direct access subways.
On December 6, at a pre-bid meeting attended by representatives of various properties located along the fully underground Metro 3 route (Colaba-Bandra- SEEPZ), more than 50 issues regarding the proposal were discussed. On top of the list was the need to reduce the premium to be paid by the private party or beneficiary of the project, from the estimated Rs 2 crore to Rs 50 lakh.
In response, the MMRCL said that while the cost of construction of a subway will be around Rs 5 crore, with it is sharing half of the project cost, the premium to be paid by the private party has been set at Rs 2 crore. Reducing the premium would not be possible, it clarified.
Another issue discussed was allowing retail shops in subways. The MMRCL stressed that there no commercial development would be allowed in the subways apart from advertisements. The rights to the latter will also not be sold to a third party, it added.
The meeting was attended by representatives of 23 private parties, including those staying in proximity to the Science Museum station in Worli, some private developers keen on direct connectivity to airport station, some hotels operating in the airport’s vicinity and representatives of two private commercial buildings in Worli. The proposed subways were conceptualised to reduce vehicular movement on roads. The 33.5-km underground Metro 3 corridor will connect the three business districts of Colaba, Bandra and SEEPZ.