Mumbai Metro snippets

Even as the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), the nodal agency for the Mumbai Metro Rail project, struggles to decide on a model for implementation of the third corridor, obstacles in executing this underground route are gradually beginning to surface.
The MMRDA, which is currently awaiting written communication from the Centre to kick-start work on the second Metro rail route — Charkop-Bandra-Mankhurd— in the city, is now faced with a series of challenges on the third metro corridor between Colaba and Mahim in the planning stage itself. It includes issues like locating the plot for car shed and environmental concerns. “There are many ifs and buts in the third corridor. The Colaba-Mahim route has many issues like a car depot land and environmental issues as there would be huge quantity of debris and muck coming out as we need to go around 50 meters deep for the corridor...where and how to dump this waste, etc,” said Ratnakar Gaikwad, Metropolitan Commissioner.
Since the third corridor requires a huge viability gap funding (VGF) of around Rs 9,000 crore, the execution has become quite a task for the MMRDA officials, sources said. “Colaba-Mahim is heavily dependent upon the VGF from financial institution like Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) on minimal interest rates, regardless of the model taken up for implementation,” Gaikwad said.He added that currently the MMRDA is focusing on starting the work on the second corridor, which is behind the schedule by nearly two years due to the Public Private Partnership (PPP)-DMRC model debate. “There are arguments for and against the PPP and the government-funded models,” Gaikwad said, adding that since the Centre could not fund 20 per cent VGF for adopting the model like the Delhi Metro, the MMRDA had to go back on the PPP model for the second route.
Meanwhile, the debate sparked by DMRC chief E Sreedharan regarding a government-funded model for Metro rail projects has had little impact on the think-tank within the Maharashtra government. “The governmentfunded model is actually a good model, but funds from the Centre are an issue. We’re studying the possibility of using land as a resource to fund the remaining Metro corridors that can be done without Government of India’s funds,” Gaikwad said.
However, the first private player led by Reliance Infra to build the Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar corridor pointed out that the first route of Delhi Metro, which is on a government-funded model, took five years to complete despite DMRC chief’s claims that the first Metro Line, Mumbai Metro One, is progressing at a slow pace. “Despite challenges, Mumbai Metro One Pvt Ltd (MMOPL) is geared up to complete the Line 1 project in three years’ time against the concession requirements of five years. Incidentally, DMRC took five years to complete their first section in year 2002,” stated K P Maheshwari, Director, MMOPL.
According to Maheshwari, Metro rail construction in Mumbai is challenging given the congested roads and issue of utilities. “Mumbai city, commercial capital of the country, is different from other cities like Delhi, Chennai on various considerations. The road area in the city is approximately seven per cent against 25 per cent in Delhi. All the roads are heavily packed with various utilities like water, sewer, gas, power, telecom lines. The construction work is to be carried out in narrow roads in close vicinity of residential and commercial buildings. The construction activities are to be coordinated with multiple civic agencies. All this put together makes the construction work a big challenge in design and construction and hence not directly comparable to Delhi,” Maheshwari said.

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