To manage rapid urbanisation and population swell in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR), Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan said in the state legislative Assembly on Saturday that a public transportation plan will be prepared. “The state will direct technical experts to examine the feasibility of operating an integrated mass rapid transit system for MMR,” he said.
Chavan also said that the government would push Metro rail projects in the region. Meanwhile, replying to another calling attention motion, Minister of State Uday Samant said the government would announce a slum rehabilitation policy on the lines of the one existing in Mumbai in a month.
Chavan, however, cited the experience of the Mumbai Metro I project to reiterate that such projects would not be allotted on build-operate-own-transfer (BOOT) basis in future. While the Mumbai Metro I service, which connects Versova to Ghatkopar, was launched on June 8, the state government and Reliance-led Mumbai Metro One Private Limited (MMOPL) are involved in a legal tangle over fares for the service.
The chief minister had earlier discussed the ‘not-so-good’ experiences of BOOT system in public infrastructure projects with former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to argue against public-private-partnership projects in the transportation sector. Shiv Sena legislators from Thane, Eknath Shinde and Pratap Sarnaik, had raised a calling attention motion in the house over delays for the proposed Metro and Monorail projects planned for Thane.
During the discussion, Chavan indicated that the state government might not go ahead with the monorail work, originally proposed to connect Thane to Bhiwandi and Kalyan. He also informed that the state-run RITES would submit the techno-feasibility report on the Metro line connecting Thane to Mumbai in a month, following which the government would take a call on the project. With most Thanekars travelling to Mumbai for work, the plan is to run a 32-km Metro service connecting Wadala in the island city to Teen Haath Naka and Kasarwadavli in Thane. NCP legislator Nawab Malik demanded an integrated Metro plan for the MMR. The Shiv Sena, which was not satisfied with Chavan’s reply, staged a walkout over the issue.