Mumbai Metro Line 3—Some questions need to be asked

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By Sudhir Badami  moneylife.in

Fully underground Line 3 of Mumbai Metro was notified for comments and suggestions in December 2011. There was no response from public. The next step is underway—getting a nod from the ministry of urban development, Government of India. Since 2004 when the Mumbai Metro Master Plan was unveiled, three of the nine lines should have been completed and should have been in operation.

Ironically even the Line 1 is not complete. What is in store for the citizens of Mumbai?

Before setting out to deal with Line 3 of Mumbai Metro, a brief on the Mumbai Metro Master Plan (MMMP) is in order.

In February 2004, the Mumbai Metropolitan Development Authority (MMRDA) unveiled the MMMP at a “public presentation” without adequate and advance public announcements; it was announced by a very small advertisement on the morning of the presentation while the presentation was scheduled at 9am! MMRDA got the planning done through Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) as their consultants. DMRC had just completed their first phase of 68.4 km of Delhi Metro for Rs10,575 crore. The elevated section for Delhi Metro had cost Rs100 crore per km and the underground had cost Rs475 crore/km and on grade, Rs20 crore/km.

MMMP in its unveiled version was a set of nine lines making a length of 146.5 km out which 32.5 km were planned underground with no on grade section. It has been planned for implementation in three phases. Phase I comprised of three lines. Line 1 is the currently under construction, 11.4 km long fully elevated. Line 2 was from Colaba to Charkop via Mahim and was underground from Colaba to Mahalaxmi.

Line 3 was elevated from Mahim to Mankhurd. These were subsequently changed to make the underground section go up to Bandra to make it 40.5 km long. The then Line 3 commenced from Bandra instead of Mahim going up to Mankhurd.

The cost of the 146.5 km of MMMP at the 2004 presentation by DMRC/MMRDA was Rs19,525 crore. However, applying the costs per kilometre for the elevated and underground sections incurred in the then just completed Delhi Metro’s first phase of 68.4 km to MMMP, the cost estimate for MMMP came to Rs26,838 crore. The MMMP was an underestimation primarily because the underground section was considered to cost Rs250crore/km instead of Delhi Metro’s Rs475 crore/km. Perhaps being less than Rs20,000 crore would have got Cabinet approval easily may have been the strategy. More info

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