MUMBAI: In another boost to connectivity, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) has decided to connect Mumbai and Virar with a Metro line. Currently, Vasai and Virar are connected only by a suburban railway line, which is overburdened, leading to a long-standing demand from locals for creation of a mass transport mode to supplement it.
The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) will prepare a detailed project report (DPR) for a Metro line between Mira-Bhayander and Virar. The state government in September gave a nod to the construction of a 10.5-km Dahisar-Mira-Bhayander (Metro 9) corridor. “We want to improve the connectivity in the MMR, so we decided to extend the network to Virar,” said a senior MMRDA official, requesting anonymity, adding the line between Mira-Bhayander and Dahisar will be extended northward to Virar.
Another MMRDA official added the Metro line could go via the national highway connecting Mumbai and Virar. “Although it is still very early to comment, one of the ideas is to take it through the highway. It will boost development in that part of the area. Residential and commercial spaces can come up there. However, DMRC will study whether the parallel line with the western railway or via the highway is a better option,” he said.
Ashok Datar, transport expert, questioned the “overzealous” attitude of the government while planning Metros. “It should be carefully studied whether the Metro line will have 30,000 passengers during peak hours, which is the main criterion in the Government of India’s Metro policy. Also, railway commuters are used to paying 20paise for a kilometer. Will they pay ₹3 or ₹4 for a km? Will they achieve the ridership they aim to get,” Datar asked.
Another transport expert AV Shenoy welcomed the idea. “Apart from building Metro lines, MMRDA should also focus on creating jobs and employment by planning growth centres in Virar, so people don’t have to travel to Mumbai,” he said.