Finally there are plans to expand Mumbai Metro rail network to make it a public transport system that will cover a large sectors of the city. It is reliably learnt that even as phase 2 is nearing completion it will benefit more Mumbaikars in the coming years. Mumbai Metro Line 2 Dahisar-Charkop-Bandra-Mankhurd part will be covered with this project. The length of this corridor is 40 Km and it will be commissioned fully underground. Metro Line 2 will connect North- South and East- West Suburban areas. This project will benefit 21 lakhs passengers after commencement.The Mumbai Metro Line 3 Project is divided into 18 main packages of ‘Project’ & ‘System’ wings. Slowly and steadily even the Navi Mumbai corridor will be covered and connected with Mankhurd Mumbai Metro rail Project for an easy passage. Perhaps the feasibility report will clear the air for such Metro rail projects to take a final shape.
Much of these corridors is planned to be underground. Therein lies the rub. The current phase has a mix of tracks above and below the ground. The average cost comes to around Rs.300 crore per km of work done, the above ground cost coming to Rs.150 crore per km and the below ground around Rs.400 crore per km. If Phases II, III and IV are all largely subterranean, the expenses will be at the higher end. That means the Government will have to be ready with the funds. Higher FSI will be permitted around metro corridors. That may not be much of an issue as financial institutions in the developed world are keen to associate with projects in emerging nations, chiefly with an eye on earning higher rates of return. What is more important is that Mumbai Metro focuses on completing the latter phases according to planned deadlines. Each month of delay in completion will only push the costs higher. If these are to be recovered, it would mean more expensive fares which may force commuters to continue relying on private transport. It is high time that our State authorities wake up to the importance of deadlines and the financial impact on non-adherence to them.
In the ultimate analysis, the metro rail will be an immense boon to the city and help improve its public transport system. The Metro city will be connected to every nook and corner, thanks to Metro rail. In total it will cross over 100 kms of the city and with Mumbai’s lifeline local train, BEST bus service, monorail will give the city more sort of cover for passengers in case of a breakdown of one of the services all of a sudden. I am hoping that the plans will soon materialise into reality.
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)