Mumbai: Citizens’ groups and transport experts in the western suburbs have requested the government to extend the Metro-III route, which will effectively make the Metro-VII Andheri(E) to Dahisar(E) redundant.
In a suggestion to the MMRDA they said the Metro-VII, planned along the Western Express Highway, would have little use as it would run parallel to a bus lane already proposed by the BEST. Instead, they suggested extension of Metro-III (Colaba-Andheri-SEEPZ) to Charkop, which would cross the WEH via Aarey and Kurar Village. They said connecting this route to the proposed Metro-II (DN Nagar-Dahisar) could offer seamless connectivity from north to south Mumbai and had the potential to decongest both the WEH and suburban rail and also remove the need for a coastal road.
Nitin Killawala, who successfully led a residents’ agitation against the elevated Charkop-Bandra-Mankhurd metro, which was later scrapped, said, “We have written a letter to the chief minister and the MMRDA to reconsider the Andheri (E)-Dahisar (E) metro and instead develop a dedicated bus lane which can be easily carved out by relocating bus stops, for just Rs 20-25 crore, in a few months.”
They also sought more east-west FOBs and roads to synchronize road, rail, metro traffic.
Ashok Datar of Mumbai Environmental Social Network said, “Such a change will offer faster connectivity to the airport, BKC and other hubs up to Nariman Point. If the suggested alternative is built, it can eliminate the need for a coastal road and passenger water transport. I will not be wrong if I say it will also reduce vehicles on WEH.” He said a dedicated bus lane on WEH with mostly AC buses plying frequently can help reduce private vehicles and taxis on WEH.
A senior town planning expert who worked closely with the government, said the route suggested by citizens and experts can attract more commuters and develop new areas. It can have greater impact if extended to Navi Mumbai, Thane and whole of MMR. In fact, it was only after Mumbai’s suburban railway route developed that people shifted to different areas to create suburbs. It is the basic of town planning that land use should follow transport ,” he added.
MMRDA commissioner U P S Madan was not available for comment.
But a senior official said the detailed project report for Dahisar(E)-Andheri(E) route prepared by Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, the consultants for Mumbai Metro, had already been approved by the MMRDA. He said the DMRC prepared the repoort only after a scientific study of the potential of passenger traffic and future developments. In fact, last month, the bhoomipujan for two elevated metro rail corridors, including Metro-VII, was performed.
Another source close to MMRDA said the suggestions regarding the WEH metro route would be considered by the MMRDA before going ahead with the project.