To overcome stiff opposition to the Rs 23,136-crore Colaba-Bandra-Seepz Metro that could have potentially delayed the showpiece project, the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC) has tweaked the design of a key station along the corridor to cut the number of families to be displaced from a slum cluster in Marol.
The MMRC had earlier expected to move at least 600 families from the Chimatpada slum for the proposed Marol Naka underground station. However, after strong opposition from local residents who were insisting on rehabilitation at the same site, the MMRC reworked the station design and construction methodology to eventually bring down the number of project-affected families to about a hundred as on-site rehabilitation is difficult with the area being reserved for a recreation ground.
The Marol Naka Metro station is key to the project as it will be an interchange between the first Metro line – the 11.4-km Verso a-Andheri-Ghatkopar corridor – and the 33.5-km Colaba-Bandra-Seepz Metro.
Several transport-infrastructure projects in the city such as the Santacruz Chembur Link Road and the Milan subway rail over-bridge, among others, have been delayed due to long time taken in negotiating with and rehabilitating project-affected slum dwellers.
An official working on the Colaba-Bandra-Seepz Metro said, “We had earlier thought of constructing the station under the site of the slums because the plot is reserved as a recreation ground and the slums anyway had to be cleared by rehabilitating the people. We thought they would cooperate.”
However, after resistance from the residents, the MMRC eventually moved the station from the south of the Andheri Kurla road to the right, to stretch on both sides of the road. “We will now be using some area of the Marol Fire Brigade, which we didn’t require under the earlier design,” he said.
Although the station is underground, the MMRC needs space for tunnelling and to construct accesses such as staircases, elevators and escalators.
Besides shifting the location, the MMRC has also changed the construction methodology for the station so that there is lesser excavation required. The MMRC had initially planned to construct the Marol Naka station using the “cut and cover” method, where a trench is excavated and roofed over. However, it has now decided to use another technology – the New Austrian Tunnelling Method – which is more suited for congested places where lesser area may be available. The method enables blasting underground by drilling a small hole on the surface, keeping the surface largely intact.
“The change in design and technology has slightly pushed up the cost of the station, but it has not had an impact on the overall project cost as the rise has been offset by a drop in the number of people to be rehabilitated, and the cost of rehabilitation,” the official said, adding the total area of the station has remained unchanged.
The Colaba-Bandra-Seepz Metro will be Mumbai’s first fully-underground Metro corridor. The line will connect business districts of Mumbai such as Nariman Point, Bandra Kurla Complex, Andheri MIDC and SEEPZ, and also provide connectivity to the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport. The MMRC expects to begin tunnelling early next year and has set a deadline of 2020 for completion.