State to broker peace in rail row


By Ashley D’Mello

The state government wants the third Metro line ( Colaba-Bandra route)) to complement Western Railway’s (WR) elevated corridor between Virar and Churchgate.

Mumbai MetroThere has been a war of nerves between the centrally-controlled WR and the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) which is implementing the Mumbai Metro project. The latest flare up is over the report submitted by the MMRDA’s technical committee to the urban development department favouring the termination of the WR’s Virar-Churchgate route at Mahalaxmi. The committee has suggested that WR commuters can use the underground Metro line to get to Colaba from Mahalaxmi. The state is now trying to broker peace between WR and the MMRDA.

Government officials said the committee’s report should not be seen in a negative light. “If the new railway line is allowed to go underground up to Oval Maidan as planned by WR, it might give rise to complications as underground station needs space and approach roads,” said an official. Sources said that committee’s report is still to be approved by the CM. Prithviraj Chavan.

Sources said There is a feeling in government circles that both Metro and Virar-Churchgate corridor are viable if they complement each other.

State officials said they have been requesting the Indian Railways to increase the number of trains and lay new tracks to serve Mumbai commuters for over three decades, but to no avail.

When the state government decided to go in for a metro rail to allieviate the problems of the city commuters seven years ago, the proposal was pushed through. However, soon after work on the project began the then railway minister, Laluprasad Yadav announced the railway plan for another set of new suburban lines. A detailed study was done by a consultant and the Western railway authorities began working on the project.

The Colaba Bandra line will be the third line in the Mumbai Metro’s nine lines plan for the city. The first line is from Versova Andheri Ghatkopar and the second from Charkop Bandra Mankhurd.