The Thane district collectorate has initiated the process of land acquisition for the country’s longest proposed underground tunnel from Borivali to Thane, which will run below the Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP).
The work on the Rs 11,000 crore six-lane project, which is expected to reduce the travel time between Thane and Borivali to 15-20 minutes, is likely to begin from March next year. Currently, it takes about 1.50 hours to cover the 23-kilometre distance by road.
According to officials, around eight-hectare land at Chitalsar-Manpada and Majiwada areas in Thane city will be acquired through private negotiation and handed over to the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), which will undertake the construction of the project.
In 2015, the MSRDC had planned the Thane-Borivali underground road to ease the regular traffic congestion on the Ghodbunder Road in Thane that causes a major inconvenience to commuters travelling between the two areas.
Two underpasses of 3+3 lanes were planned between the 11.8-km tunnel linking Tikujiniwadi and Borivali and the work on the project started after a consultant was appointed in 2015. After the project feasibility study and detailed report were approved, a project proposal was sent to the state forest department where several changes were introduced. Officials said special precautions were taken in planning the tunnel to avoid causing harm to the SGNP’s biodiversity. A tunnel boring machine was used to avoid disturbing animals.
Later, the central forestry department had demanded an additional alternative land for the project that added to the project’s cost.
A year ago, the project was handed over to MMRDA from the MSRDC, however, there was no progress or work on the project in the past one-and-a-half year. With the commencement of the land acquisition process, the project seems to be finally picking pace.
Deputy Collector Prashant Suryavanshi has been appointed as the competent authority for land acquisition and a notice has been issued regarding the same on July 12.
“The land from the private sector will be taken by MMRDA through direct purchase and 25 per cent of the extra amount will be given on the compensation decided through a district-level committee. A notice has been issued and a letter of consent has been sought from those who are willing to give land for this project,” an official said.