Nearly three years after President Pratibha Patil performed bhoomi pujan for the much-delayed Charkop-Bandra-Mankhurd Metro,the citys development authority is contemplating vastly altering the line and building it as an underground Bandra-Dahisar corridor instead.
Rahul Asthana,Metropolitan Commissioner at the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA),said if a plan to build the line as an underground corridor instead of an elevated one goes through,Dahisar is most likely to be included in the route and connectivity to Mankhurd would be deferred.
For an underground Metro we will have to start from scratch. A fresh detailed project report will be required to be commissioned and a fresh concession agreement will have to be signed. So,if we go underground we will take up connectivity to Mankhurd in some later phase. This is one of the ideas in the process, Asthana said.
He added that connectivity to Dahisar cannot be included in the planned Colaba-Bandra-Seepz underground Metro because a single line right up to Dahisar will not be able to take the passenger load.
The MMRDA had planned the 32-km Charkop-Bandra-Mankhurd Metro,an elevated corridor the construction of which is yet to begin,as the second Metro route in the city after the under construction Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar line.
The state government had signed a concession agreement for the Metro with a Reliance Infrastructure-led consortium in 2010. However,the project was stalled due to the lack of an environmental clearance for its car depot at Charkop.
For the past several months now the MMRDA has been having discussions with Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan to build the Metro as an underground corridor instead of an elevated one. The MMRDA soon plans to send a formal proposal to the state government to that effect.
Last month,the chief minister had visited the elevated Ghatkopar Metro station and had expressed concern at the proximity of residential buildings to the structure.
However,before we go ahead with any decision we will have to ensure that we have the land for a car depot in place. The Ministry of Environment and Forests is not ready to budge and grant a clearance for a car depot at Charkop as planned, Asthana said,adding the MMRDA is considering a couple of alternatives.