With No land for Metro car shed, delay in the civil and electric work and no sign of commencement of trial run soon, the Mumbaikars will have to wait till at least 2024 for the first underground Metro line 3 Colaba-SEEPZ-Bandra corridor to get operational.
The Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Limited (MMRCL), which is executing the much-delayed Metro 3 line, said they are now aiming to complete the work of the first phase of Metro corridor on Bandra-SEEPZ by January 2024 and it will take six more months to start Phase-1, that too only if the Metro car shed land issue is sorted out within three months.
The initial deadline for completion of the work was 2021. However, it seems that it’s not just the issue of car shed that is delaying the work, but other work have also been delayed and the first underground Metro will be ready for the public only after 2024.
Meanwhile, the government has decided to spend over Rs 2,000 crore to extend Metro 3 till Navy Nagar and are in the process of appointing a consultant for preparing the feasibility report.
The MMRC had started the work on the 33-km long underground Colaba to Seepz Metro line 3 in 2016, having a total of 26 underground stations on the entire stretch. However, during the recent budget session in the assembly, Deputy Chief Minister and Finance Minister Ajit Pawar announced extension of the Metro line by 2.5 kilometres to Navy Nagar from Cuffe Parade where the first station was proposed initially. With the plan of extension of the Metro till Navy Nagar, the first station will be Navy Nagar and there will be a total of 27 stations with estimated additional cost of Rs 2,031 crore.
As per the initial plan, the first phase between Bandra and Seepz was planned to be completed by December 2021 and the second phase from Bandra-Kurla Complex to Colaba by June 2022.
The Metro 3 car shed was proposed at Aarey Colony during Devendra Fadnavis led BJP-Shiv Sena government. However, it was opposed by environmentalists. After the formation of Maha Vikas Aghadi government in November 2019, the plan of car shed at Aarey was scrapped by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and had announced to shift it to to Kanjurmarg.
However, the Kanjurmarg plot got stuck under several the litigations and lawsuits with several parties including Central government claiming its stake on the land. The MMRDA is now looking for different options for car shed other than Kanjurmarg and Aarey and has also inspected one such land at Kanjurmarg itself which is owned by a private party.
Meanwhile, due to the absence of the car shed, CM Thackeray in September last year had announced that a trial run of the Metro 3 will be conducted on Marol-Maroshi stretch.
The MMRCL had said that a temporary facility to accommodate prototype train and its testing is being built by them at Sariput Nagar, (the adjacent land near the controversial Aarey car shed)
The work on it was expected to be over by March 2022 and the trial was supposed to start after getting the first eight-car train, the MMRC had announced.
However, sources said the work is yet to be completed owing to which the two trains are ready at Sri City in Andhra Pradesh for the past one year. However, they are unable to bring it to the city due to non-availability of the space to park it.