With Mumbai’s population growing at a brisk pace and with an ever-increasing number of private vehicles, the key characteristic of the city now is its overcrowded roads. However, expansion of the metro system has been instrumental in reducing road traffic and providing an environment-friendly, fast, comfortable and affordable transit solution.
After a long period of stagnancy, Mumbai’s metro Line 7 (MML 7) finally witnessed progress with the award of three construction contracts in April 2016. The line, once operational, will provide much-needed relief to the city’s commuters by connecting the busiest areas of the city – Andheri (East) and Dahisar (East).
Line 7 will be developed in two parts. The first 18 km Dahisar (East)-Andheri (East) corridor, for which contracts have been recently awarded, is scheduled for completion by March 2018, while the second 9 km Andheri (East)-Bandra corridor, is still in nascent stages of planning.
The Dahisar-Andheri corridor will be fully elevated and will have 16 stations. These will be constructed at Dahisar (East), Shreenath Nagar, Omkareshwar, Borivali Bus Stop, Thakur Complex, Mahindra & Mahindra, Bandongri, Kurar Village, Veet Bhatti, Aarey Road Junction, V. Nagar, Hub Mall, Bombay Exhibition Centre, JVLR Junction, Shankarwadi and Andheri (East).
The corridor is proposed to intersect the Colaba-Bandra-SEEPZ metro line (Line 3), and integrate with the existing Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar line (Line 1) as well as with the proposed Jogeshwari-Kanjurmarg corridor at the beginning of the Jogeshwari-Vikhroli link road (JVLR).
The project has faced severe delays. Although the detailed project report was approved in 2010, the foundation stone was laid only in October 2015. Also, in the same month, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation was appointed the interim contractor to oversee the project including documentation work related to construction, bid documents, estimates, etc.
Progress began in earnest in 2016, with bids being invited for the selection of detailed design consultants for civil, architectural and building services, including electrical and mechanical works in February 2016. Thereafter, in March, bids were invited for engaging a general consultant, followed by the selection of contractors in April.
Construction on the Dahisar-Andheri corridor is scheduled to begin by September 2016 and the contractors are likely to complete construction of the entire corridor within 30 months from the date of commencement of work.
The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) had earlier pegged the cost of the Dahisar-Andheri corridor at Rs 48.3 billion based on July 2015 prices. However, the MMRDA subsequently revised the costs as per the date of completion (2019 prices).
The corridor is currently expected to require an investment of Rs 62.08 billion. Of this, the MMRDA will contribute Rs 23.2 billion and arrange for a loan of Rs 22.46 billion. The state government will provide a loan of Rs 7.33 billion and the central government will provide a loan of Rs 3.02 billion. The state government has already allocated Rs 6.06 billion to secure 21.78 hectares of government land at a nominal rate. Further, in March 2016, the MMRDA allocated Rs 5 billion for MML 7 under its Budget 2016-17.
Once operational, Line 7 will be crucial in easing Mumbai’s congestion. It is expected to have an average daily ridership of 528,000 passengers by 2021. It will also reduce the load on the suburban trains which presently carry a passenger load of 5,000 each, against the designed capacity of 1,750.