Now, Intelligence Bureau objects to Mumbai Metro-III station near ATC Tower

Mumbai: Months after airport security division of Airports Authority of India (AAI) objecting to coming up of Metro III railway station near the new ATC tower in Vile Parle, the Intelligence Bureau (IB) has now raised a similar objection to it.

The Metro station’s entry and exit points are dangerously close to the tower, which manages the air navigation system around Mumbai airspace.

In a security review meeting held last month, which had all stakeholders, the IB put forth its disagreement over the project design. The objections are now expected to be analysed at the highest level of ministry of civil aviation and ministry of home.

AAI – a partner in the private-run city airport, recently wrote to many agencies, including operator Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL), to make the required changes in the plan. “Otherwise, it could be disastrous for the safety of the new ATC tower,” it wrote.

According to sources in the know of the meeting, the distance between the entry/exit of the proposed Metro and the tower is not more than 15-20 metres, though MMRDA officials claimed it to be around 40 meters. It should ideally be more than 100 metres, as per Bureau of Civil Aviation Security rules amended in 2011.

A MIAL spokesperson had said in March, “MIAL will discuss the issue raised by AAI with all the agencies involved in the Metro III construction and revert to AAI.”

The ATC tower located near the domestic terminal in Vile Parle is a key installation. Any terror attack on it will likely have a cascading effect on air traffic across the globe.

As per MMRDA’s website, Metro III (Colaba–Bandra–Seepz) is 32.50km-long and fully underground, with 27 stations. It connects major business districts of Nariman Point and Bandra-Kurla Complex, domestic and international airports, and industrial areas of MIDC and Seepz in Andheri. It will also connect various areas in the island city that are not served by the suburban railways — Kalbadevi, Worli and Prabhadevi.

The project is funded by the Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA), which will provide about 70% of the loan. The rest will be provided by the central and state governments and the MMRDA in the form of equity and subordinate debt and funds from MIAL. The project is estimated to cost Rs23,136 crore.

In and out of line

  • Metro I (Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar) is now functional.
  • Metro II (Charkop-Bandra-Mankhurd) stands more or less shelved.\
  • Metro III is expected to start later this year and will get completed by 2019-20.