THE MUMBAI Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC) will now be constructing only seven stations of the Metro 3 by the New Austrian Tunnelling Method (NATM) and the remaining 18 stations will be constructed by the cut and cover method. Only Hutatma Chowk, Kalbadevi, Girgaum, Grant Road, Shitladevi, Santacruz and Marol Naka stations on the Colaba-Bandra-SEEPZ line will be constructed by NATM technique.
Watch What Else Is Making News:
The NATM technique is a modern tunnel construction method where the surrounding rock or soil formation of a tunnel is integrated into an overall ring-like support structure. Earlier MMRC planned to construct 11 stations by the NATM method but after completing their surveys they have now decided to bring down the number.
MMRC feels that the NATM is a difficult technique that will cost more money, time and eventually provide only a congested space.
“While the NATM technique costs 1.5 times more than the cut and cover method, it creates smaller spaces to work. This technique is only chosen out of compulsion in congested spaces and rarely is the first choice,” explains R Ramana, Executive Director, MMRC.
In an online petition South Mumbai residents have demanded for an improved Metro 3 to save trees in the city. Among their demands is the construction of stations by the NATM technology so that less number of trees will be affected.
Robin Jaisinghani, a resident of Cuffe Parade, asks why the MMRC doesn’t implement the NATM technology despite its ability to save thousands of trees.
He says, “The NATM technique might be costlier, but where we are already spending over Rs. 23000 crore, we could spend a little more to save our trees and open spaces. They are conveniently choosing the easier option and taking up all our open spaces by barricading them for cut and cover method. Instead they could use a technology that will cause lesser damage. The WHO guidelines provides for minimum nine sq.m open space per person, but the city’s infrastructure projects have not left even 0.5 sq.m. space per person.”
They have received 2,000 signatures on the petition and it will soon be delivered to CM Devendra Fadnavis, MMRC and JICA, Metro 3’s funding agency.