Metro II runs into high-tension hurdle


By Ashley D’Mello

MUMBAI: The agency constructing the second line of Mumbai Metro, that will connect Charkop with Mankhurd, via Bandra, is now faced with a new road block: the officials are at their wits’ end about how to tackle 14 high-tension Tata Power towers coming in the way of the tracks.

Senior officials of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), the planning authority of the project, said they had cleared 60% of the route of obstacles and encroachments and expected the work to start in October. The contract for construction work has been given to a consortium, led by Reliance Infra, which is also building the first Metro line, from Versova to Ghatkopar through Andheri.

“We have had discussions with experts as well as Tata Power officials and will find a solution to the problem,” said an MMRDA official. He added that they were looking for land in Charkop to use as a casting yard and had shortlisted a plot owned by the central public works department. “We hope to get the plot so that work can begin,” he said.

MMRDA officials have also approached the ministry of environment and forests, asking for permission if they could use a plot in Charkop, that they use to park the trains, for washing and maintenance work. The parking unit is built on stilts, to ensure that mangroves in the area were not harmed. The ministry said it would give the nod for washing and maintenance only if the MMRDA built an effluent treatment plant to take care of the pollutants.

The work on the second Metro line has been hanging fire owing to demonstrations by citizens’ groups from Bandra and Juhu who demanded that instead of an elevated route, underground tracks should be laid from Andheri to Bandra to prevent demolition of shops and homes. The MMRDA, however, said the underground tracks would be too expensive.