By Zeeshan Shaikh www.hindustantimes.com
First it was December 2010, then June 2011 and now the Mumbai Metro One Private Limited (MMOPL) claims that Mumbaiites will be able to ride in the metro in March 2012. It comes with a rider though. Only 3 km of the 11.07-km Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar Metro line is expected to be complete by March next year.
“We target to achieve commercial operation date of the Versova-Azad Nagar section by March or April 2012, depending upon the receipt of all statutory clearances,” said a senior MMOPL official recently.
MMOPL officials have claimed that the trial run on the Versova, DN Nagar and Azad Nagar stretch is expected to start by February and if all goes as planned, this stretch will be thrown open to commuters by March or April.
Actual physical work on the Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar stretch began in February 2008 and was expected to be completed within three years. The MMRDA had earlier claimed that work will be completed by December 2010. But delays in seeking clearances from authorities only extended the deadline.
There has been increasing pressure on the state government and the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority to complete work on this stretch at the earliest; ongoing work has worsened traffic situation.
A beleaguered state government has been pressurising MMOPL to show some results before the upcoming civic elections, which will be of immense help to the ruling party as far as infrastructure development in the city is concerned.
Chief secretary Ratnakar Gaikwad had given explicit directions to MMOPL and MMRDA last week asking them to complete work on the Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar Metro line by May 2012. “All civil work should be completed by 2012 and public should be able to use the Metro by August 2012,” Gaikwad said.