The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), in an affidavit filed recently, informed the Bombay High Court that it was a ‘conscious decision’ to opt for an elevated route for the Mumbai Metro 2B line, based on technical, scientific and other material considered by experts. The proposed Metro 2B line will connect the city’s western and eastern suburbs. “MMRDA and the state government have taken into consideration all the aspects of the project, including the pros and cons of underground and elevated metro and have taken a conscious decision, to go for an elevated metro, in so far as the Metro 2B and 2A lines are concerned,” the affidavit filed by MMRDA executive engineer, Bhushan Mhaiske said.
The affidavit was submitted, in response to a petition filed by the Juhu Vile Parle Development Cooperative Housing Association, the Gulmohar area society welfare group and the Balabhai Nanavati Hospital in the city, opposing the proposed alignment of the Metro 2B line. The petitioners sought for the line to be constructed underground, similar to the Metro III Colaba-Seepz line. However, the MMRDA in its affidavit, said that the benefits of an elevated metro line are more than an underground line, in terms of finance and time.
“It is not possible to make the Metro 2B line partly underground and partly elevated, as it entails huge land requirement for location of facilities for going underground and coming over ground. Such land is not available,” the affidavit said. “The construction of an underground metro takes over six years, while an elevated line can be completed within four years,” it said. “Besides the time factor, the cost is more than 5.5 times. An elevated metro line costs Rs 95 crores per kilometre, whereas, an underground line costs Rs 540 crores per kilometre,” the MMRDA said. The petitioners cannot decide whether the metro line should be underground or elevated, as it a ‘highly technical issue’, requiring scientific experience, it said. “The Metro 2B line from DN Nagar to Mankhurd, is a project of great public importance for the public transport and it is conceived, to create a world-class infrastructure for meeting the needs of the city residents,” the affidavit said.
A division bench of justices AS Oka and Riyaz Chagla posted the petition for further hearing on July 13, 2018. “The earlier statement made by the MMRDA that at this stage they are only carrying out soil testing work for the line and will not carry out any further work, shall carry on till the next date of hearing,” the court said.