Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC), which was aiming to complete tunnelling work by December 2020, may miss the deadline due to lack of labourers, machinery and disruptions in the supply chain during the lockdown. The slow pace of work has most likely delayed work to go beyond February 2021.
According to officials, MMRC was undertaking tunnelling at a speed of 1,500 metre per month before the lockdown, which has reduced to 600m in the past two-and-a-half months. The number of labourers had reduced from 15,000 to 4,000 on site, which has now improved to 6,000 as migrant labourers have started coming to the city.
Although, 83% of the tunnelling work and 57% of the overall work have been completed, there has been a major disruption in the supply chain, availability of labour and even spare parts. It is the stretch between Mahalakshmi and Mumbai Central that would spill over to 2021, a MMRC official said.
On the supply front the most critical part to start the metro operations, MMRC was expecting the first rolling stock by December 2020, that might also be delayed owing to the lockdown. The Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government, under chief minister Uddhav Thackeray, has also stalled the car-shed work at Aarey Colony, which would further derail the project. Thackeray stalled the work in November 2019 and appointed a committee to look at alternative options for the car-shed. However, the state is yet to take a call on it.
The earlier deadline for phase 1 of the fully underground corridor was June 2021, which was revised to December 2021, owing to delays caused by legal battles.
In 2017, MMRC had estimated that even a day’s delay in Metro-3 would cost ₹ 4.2 crore. The project cost has already escalated from ₹23,000 crore to ₹32,000 crore.
Two Metro lines that were to be operational by December 2020 had also been pushed to April 2021.