THE MUMBAI Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) will build two more Metro rail lines, including one that will connect the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport to the under-construction Navi Mumbai International Airport. A Detailed Project Report (DPR) will be commissioned immediately for both corridors, the second one from Kanjurmarg to Badlapur in Thane district, a 45-km stretch.
A senior MMRDA official said these two additional lines will improve connectivity between the two airports and reduce traffic on the Eastern Express Highway. At the recently-held 147th meeting of the agency’s decision-making panel headed by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, the MMRDA proposed its plan for the two Metro lines, in addition to the 280 km of metro lines currently at various stages of planning or construction. Both proposed lines will connect the financial capital with the Mumbai Metropolitan Region, the larger outback area sprawled across an area 10 times the size of the city.
At least 12 lines in the planned Metro rail network offer connectivity to or in the MMR, including the Bhiwandi-Thane-Kalyan line and the Mira Road-Bhayander-Virar line.
While civil works are underway for some of these lines, work at others will start in September.
A senior MMRDA official said that with these two additional lines, the 280-km network of Metro rail corridors will serve an anticipated 1 crore passengers every day. The Mumbai suburban railway lines of Western and Central Railway, including the latter’s harbour line, currently record at least 80 lakh passenger trips daily. Considering the need for a Metro corridor between the two airports, the MMRDA has approved the proposal. According to the minutes of the MMRDA meeting, the agency has received the approval for preparing a DPR for the two new Metro lines.
Deputy Metropolitan Commissioner Dilip Kawathkar said, “The DPR will study how these projects can be implemented. The Kanjurmarg to Badlapur Metro line will have a length of 45 kilometres and will be an elevated corridor.” The line connecting the two airports will be 33 kilometers in length and also an elevated corridor. An official said the MMRDA’s primary report shows that each of the two proposed corridors will see a daily ridership of eight to ten lakh people.
Funds for the two additional Metro lines are likely to be raised through the Public-Private-Partnership route. Currently, while the underground Colaba-Bandra-Seepz Metro line is being built by the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (MMRCL), a joint venture of the central and state governments, with government funds and a loan from JICA, all the other Metro lines under planning and construction by the MMRDA are funded by the JICA and the ADB.
The city’s first and sole operating metro line, the Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar corridor, operated by the Mumbai Metro One Pvt Ltd (MMOPL), was built on a PPP model with MMRDA a 26 per cent stakeholder in MMOPL.