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Global agency may design Metro rail corridor

Faced with the prospects of no private participation in the underground Colaba-Bandra-Mahim Metro rail corridor,the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority has decided to invite global agencies to prepare a design for the underground project...

Written by Swapnil Rawal | Mumbai | Published: January 7, 2009 12:22:03 am

Faced with the prospects of no private participation in the underground Colaba-Bandra-Mahim Metro rail corridor,the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) has decided to invite global agencies to prepare a design for the underground project and simultaneously plan its integrated commercial development in and around the stations.

“We’re inviting global tenders for the integrated development and construction of underground shopping in the station area for the corridor in another 10 days,” said P R K Murthy,Chief of Transport and Communication Division of the MMRDA.

He added that agencies in Japan are keen to assist MMRDA since they have successful underground Metro corridors in Tokyo with shopping areas that fetch additional revenue for the transport authorities. The consultant will provide a design of the construction and also give estimates of the revenue the commercial exploitation could potentially generate.

The 19.5 km underground route,that is estimated to cost around Rs 12,000 crore,is likely to be funded by Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC).

According to Metropolitan Commissioner Ratnakar Gaikwad,since the viability gap fund for the third Metro corridor is huge,commercial exploitation of the underground section is essential to make the Metro corridor self-financed. Globally,commercial exploitation of underground stations has not been successful.

Whether it could be successful and accepted in Mumbai’s conditions,Gaikwad said: “International expertise is sought along the line of Metro rails in Tokyo and Toronto where authorities have had good integrated development in the station area with shopping and other commercial exploitation being highly successful”. He added that Metro system in Tokyo has gone three levels below the ground level for commercial exploitation despite being located in a coastal area like Mumbai.

The MMRDA has also decided to commercially exploit space at over 27 stations on the Charkop-Bandra-Mankhurd route. Around 4,000 square metres would be set apart at each station,which is substantial space to house offices,shops and so on,according to Gaikwad. Even in the first Metro corridor,the MMRDA has earmarked around 1,000 square feet at various stations for commercial exploitation.

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