The townships that are swelling and adding to commuter chaos are those beyond the city limits, including Vasai-Virar and Kalyan-Dombivali. While the state government has come up with an elaborate plan to build a Metro network to decongest the city and ease the pressure on the lifeline that is Mumbai’s local trains, hundreds of residents of Kalyan-Dombivali have approached the Chief Minister’s Office and the MMRDA saying that the Metro alignment proposed via Kalyan-Taloja is an error and that it should connect via Ghansoli instead. A similar route is recommended by the Comprehensive Transportation Study of MMR, 2008.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi conducted the ground-breaking for two new Metro corridors in the region in December 2018 — Line 5 Thane-Bhiwandi-Kalyan Metro and Line 9 Dahisar (East) to Mira-Bhayandar Metro. During this event, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had spontaneously announced two more Metro corridors — Dombivli to Taloja and Mira Bhayandar to Virar, responding to demands.
The complete metro network proposed in Mumbai
However, citizens have said that these won’t be of much help right now. “A Kalyan-Taloja Metro could open up another line of opportunity, but we believe now is not the time. It can come when the Navi Mumbai International Airport gains significant flyers and supporting businesses contribute to jobs in the area. Instead, the line proposed by us appeals to current travel patterns,” the Dombivli Central and Navi Mumbai Citizens’ Voice, said in the proposal.
The proposed line could be an extension of the under-construction Metro Line 6 (Lokhandwala-Seepz-Kanjurmarg) which terminates at the Vikhroli end of the JVLR. It can have a stop at the Mahape IT Park and Electronics Manufacturing Zone and an interchange at Ghansoli station to the Trans Harbour line providing access to the other nodes of Navi Mumbai.
‘Will examine feasible options’
“We understand that it could be a difficult section to execute because of large environmental concerns including mangroves and sanctuaries, but it is the need of the hour and MMRDA could look at running an under-creek tunnel or some other environment-friendly alternative without affecting migratory birds,” the forum’s appeal read. Hundreds have signed the petition in support of this.
MMRDA officials said that they will check if the proposal is feasible. “We shall examine the proposal with all possible options to check its feasibility and take a call on the matter accordingly,” joint project director (PR) Dilip Kawathkar said.
Transport expert Jitendra Gupta said the metros should be built in consultation with the local populace. “It is important to take citizens into confidence before proceeding on a Metro project,” he said.
Reasons for Kalyan-Ghansoli-Vikhroli line
- Many offices, IT Parks, malls, colleges and businesses present along the route
- Similar route is recommended by the Comprehensive Transportation Study of MMR, 2008
- Will heavily de-congest Thane station as people commuting to Navi Mumbai will shift to this line
- Heavy traffic jams on Kalyan-Shilphata road
- Overcrowded buses, and too many cabs plying to Navi Mumbai
- Packed Trans-Harbour trains at Thane filled with commuters travelling to Navi Mumbai
- Large townships developed by private builders
- Increasing office space absorption in Navi Mumbai indicating further growth in jobs fuelled by the availability of labour moving here, as per MahaRERA projects data
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