Mumbaikars will have to wait until December for the commissioning of the Mumbai monorail phase-I project and till March next year for the phase-I of Mumbai Metro rail project. These projects entail a total investment of Rs 5,156 crore. Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, who reviewed the implementation of various infrastructure projects in Mumbai, admitted that the monorail project between Wadala to Chembur has been delayed due to issues involving land, removal of encroachments, delays in getting permissions from the civic body and railways. The Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar metro phase-I project, which has been awarded to the Reliance Infrastructure in 2006, was also delayed due to resettlement and rehabilitation of the project affected families apart from getting several clearances from the ministry of environment and forest and railways. However, the chief minister said carrying out such major infrastructure projects in the densely populated areas of Mumbai was a major challenge. "I must say that big infrastructure projects do face, some times, awkward situations. Resettlement and Rehabilitation of the project affected families is another huge challenge. Of course, we are working very hard to complete all civil work by this year end, conduct the required tests and begin commercial operations by March next year”, said Chavan. On the current status of the Rs 7,660 crore Charkop-Bandra-Mankhurd metro phase-II project awarded to Reliance Infrastructure, Chavan said the project implementation has yet to start as the ministry of environment and forest (MoEF) had objected to the site proposed for metro car depot. "The site was covering the mangroves.
There was a proposal to develop car depot on stilt but MoEF observed that washing of metro car may pollute the existing mangroves. Now the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), which is the nodal agency for these projects, has identified an alternate site but it needs to be approved by MoEF," Chavan informed.
Further, he said MMRDA would have to take a call on whether the phase II would be underground or elevated as there have been protests. The foundation stone was laid by the President of India Pratibha Patil in August 2009 and as per the original metro phase II would have been completed in 2013. “Our priority, after all, is to completing the projects and providing commuter friendly infrastructure to the city folks as early as possible”, concluded the Chief Minister. Meanwhile, Chavan also reviewed the progress on the Eastern Freeway and Anik-Panjrapol Link Road. This project comprising two phases entail an investment of Rs 943.64 crore and would be completed by December. The third phase comprises Panjrapol-Ghatkopar Link Road with an investment of Rs 191.82 crore.