Metro first corridor hits a hurdle as residents oppose barricade

The construction work on a contentious stretch of the city’s first Metro Rail corridor has come up against a fresh hurdle.

Written by Swapnil Rawal | Mumbai | Published: March 14, 2009 3:03:56 am

The construction work on a contentious stretch of the city’s first Metro Rail corridor has come up against a fresh hurdle. Residents and shopkeepers of the area have opposed the barricading of the Navrang Cinema-Andheri station stretch and this has,in effect,stalled the civil works on the stretch.

A traffic police notification had said the JP Road will be closed for traffic from SV Road to Navrang Cinema in connection with the Metro rail work. The shop owners and residents have protested against the move. “This is unacceptable. How will we run our shops,or get our vehicles out if the road is barricaded? They’ve not yet resolved our rehabilitation issue and now they want to shut the road,so they can put pressure on us to move wherever they want,” said Inderpal Sabharwal,joint secretary of the Andheri Shopkeepers Residents Association.

The association also wrote a letter to the police,which prompted the authorities to halt the barricading. Dilip Suryavanshi,Assistant Commissioner of Police (DN Nagar Division),said,“a meeting of all the parties concerned will be held to sort out the issue amicably. And until then,there will be no barricading.”

The association has suggested that the work on the stretch should be done in two phases. “They can barricade the road from Navrang Cinema to Dawood Baug Junction first and take up the remaining portion after completion of work on the first stretch,” Sabharwal said.

Though the civil construction for the Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar corridor began in February 2008,the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) has not yet handed over the ‘right of way’ for the construction on this JP Road stretch as it had to resolve the issue of rehabilitation of the displaced shopkeepers. “This option was arrived at as none of the shops will have to be shifted and the construction of the metro will not be delayed,” a senior MMRDA official said on condition of anonymity.

Meanwhile,Mumbai Metro One Private Ltd,the agency that has undertaken the metro corridor project,is waiting for a go-ahead from the government authorities. “The MMRDA will now have to convince the shopkeepers and residents to allow the work to begin,” said S C Gupta,head of civil construction for the agency.

The agency officials are concerned about the handling of the issue. “So far,the construction is going per schedule,but there will be a time when we will require this stretch also,” a senior agency official said.

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