Friday, September 29, 2006

Mumbai Metro: Charkop route changed

Tough luck Colaba. The Colaba-Charkop metro rail leg has been changed to a Charkop-Bandra-Mankhurd route.

Here's what's changed

Earlier: Colaba-Charkop
Now: Charkop-Bandra-Mankhurd

Earlier: 36km
Now: 32km

Earlier: Rs7,423cr
Now: Rs6,192cr

Number of stations
Earlier: 36
Now: 27

Earlier: Of the 36 station, 25 would be overhead and balance underground
Now: All 27 stations will be elevated (per Indian Express article here)

Completion date..oops, no change here.
Earlier: 2011
Now: 2011

This is what the proposed route and it's stations will look like (picture courtesy: Mumbai Mirror.)

As to why this change has happened

Hindustan Times says (e-paper link here):

Plan to build the Colaba-Charkop line was shelved after it was found that the part-underground, part-elevated line would be financially unviable. The Rs 9,000 crore-line would cost an additional Rs 2,000 crore if it were made underground till Mahim (earlier, it was till Mahalaxmi). The new corridor, which will be entirely elevated, will be cheaper and can also be built faster.

However, the Indian Express has a different take (link here):

Originally, the Bandra to Charkop arm had been part of the north-south Colaba-Bandra-Charkop route, which is now being tweaked—more portions will be underground—following objections from the Mumbai Heritage Conservation Committee.
Note that this is just a change in the route and does not mean anything in terms of progress on execution of the project. So the only thing that's happened is that the MMRDA has changed the route and the Chief Minister (also the Chairman of the MMRDA) has approved the change.

The project will now go the State Cabiner for approval. Given the size and the cost of the project, it will most likely run into some kind of hurdles such as sharing of the costs, etc, etc.

MMRDA has also estimated viability gap funding at Rs1,658crores. While current news articles suggest that this amount will be borne by the State Government, do remember that work on the Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar leg had been stalled over this issue.

Given that the BMC elections are due soon, one can expect headlines to keep coming steadily on the approvals received and projects flagged off by our politicians on infrastructure projects for this city. Back-patting stuff that their hoardings are made of. And what of real work done and benefits achieved ? Wait till 2011 for that.

News articles referenced (all dated today 29th Sept 06):
Mumbai Mirror: Rs6,192cr Charkop Metro Project gets go-ahead from state (link here)
Indian Express: By 2011, Charkop to Mankhurd in 45mins (link here)
Business Standard: Board nod for 2nd Mumbai Metro Line (link here)
Hindustan Times: Metro re-routed: Colaba must wait (e-paper link here)

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