Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar Metro Rail won’t roll in September, deferred to December

MUMBAI: Mumbaikars’ long wait for the first phase of the Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar metro rail is far from over. Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan won’t be able to keep his promise of commissioning it next month. It has now been deferred to December.

This is one of several infrastructure projects that keep getting delayed in the city.

Sahar Elevated Road, connecting Western Express Highway to the new airport terminal, was to be ready by May. It has been deferred to December. Work on the project began over three years ago. The worst of the delays is that of Santa Cruz Chembur Link Road (SCLR), announced way back in 2003. It was to be ready by October this year. The new date is March 2014.

Chavan has been promising that infrastructure projects worth Rs 5,000 crore will be commissioned by the year-end. Repeated delays in commissioning the metro had led Chavan to promise that it would be done in phases. The first phase between Versova and the international airport was to be commissioned in September.

Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority commissioner U P S Madan said metro cannot be commissioned unless the commissioner of railway safety (CRS) gives the nod. “Inspections and trial runs are on but certificates may take a while.” MMRDA, which is executing the project with MMOPL, said the deadline may be shifted to December.

Sources said the interiors are still to be completed. “How can the CRS be expected to give a nod when the work itself is not complete?” asked an MMRDA official.

On Sahar Elevated Road, Madan said, “The road leads directly to the terminal and both are being completed. The underpass for the elevated road is to be completed. Since the road ends at the terminal, it is a happy coincidence that both will be ready in December.”

The need for SCLR is even more pronounced as the shift of business districts to Bandra, Andheri and Malad has seen a spike in east-west travel for work. Madan said SCLR was delayed as the heavy monsoon led the railways to refuse to allow piers to be set up across railway tracks.