Crucial Metro II meeting today in Mumbai


By Ninad Siddhaye

It has been almost two years after the Bhoomipujan ceremony for the 32km-long Metro-II alignment was performed in the presence of President Pratibha Patil in Mumbai.

However, officials of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMOPL) are still struggling to hand over the land needed for the casting yard on both sides of the Charkop-Bandra-Mankhurd stretch.

The metropolitan commissioner has convened a meeting on Monday of all stakeholders to discuss the issue.

The Charkop-Bandra-Mankhurd route is to be the biggest metro routes in the city. Just like the first metro, Reliance Infrastructure-led consortium Mumbai Metro Transport Pvt Ltd (MMTPL) has bagged the contract to construct and run the metro for around three decades.

However, not even a single brick has been laid on this route. As part of their face-saving exercise, MMRDA and MMTPL officials have been claiming that the “geotechnical surveys” and soil testing for the route has been in progress. However, according to sources close to the development, no civil work is possible until land for the casting yard is made available. “How can the consortium start any work when there is absolutely no land in our possession where we can commence construction?” asked a source close to the development.

MMRDA spokesperson Dilip Kawathkar told DNA that the central government’s Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) has given an “in principle” approval to acquiring both the plots in Charkop and Mankhurd. “We have already made a formal plea to the centre in granting us an environmental clearance. We should be getting it soon,” said Kawathkar. However, sources in the authority have confirmed that getting the nod to construct car depots in a Coastal Regulatory Zone (CRZ) area is likely to be very tough for the authority.