Mumbai Metro on tracks from today amidst row
Mumbai Metro on Tracks from Today Amidst Row, After inordinate delays, the Mumbai Metro will be thrown open to the public tomorrow.
Mumbai: After inordinate delays, the Mumbai Metro will be thrown open to the public tomorrow. The Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar Metro Corridor had received the final safety clearance from the Railway Board earlier this week, paving the way for it to be opened to the public. The Metro will provide the crucial east to west connectivity and will carry around six lakh commuters per day. The biggest advantage would be the substantial reduction in travel time from the current 90 minutes to about 20 minutes along with much improved and comfortable traveling experience. The Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar route will have AC trains with automatic door closing system.
The frequency of trains will be 3.5 minutes, going down to 3 minutes during peak hours. Each train will have four coaches but all the stations are designed to accommodate six coach trains anticipating increase in the traffic in future. The Metro will be connected to Andheri station on the Western Railway suburban line and Ghatkopar on Central Railway suburban line. Western Railway and Central Railway run local trains which is the lifeline of the city. While all three existing lines (of local train services) run on the north - south corridor, the Metro will connect the eastern and western suburbs of Versova and Ghakopar. The Metro Corridor will have 12 stations.
A visibly upset Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan Saturday expressed his strong reservation to the proposed hike in fares reportedly contemplated by RInfra, which has built the 11.40 km Metro Rail running east-west between Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar, at a cost of Rs.4,300 crore. "As per the tender, RInfra has agreed to charge fares of Rs.9, Rs.11 and Rs.13 for the journey (depending on km). Now, they are planning to charge between Rs.10-Rs.40. This is totally unacceptable to us," Chavan told reporters here.
Chavan further hinted that in case RInfra went ahead with the "arbitrary fare hike", he would not attend the inauguration function Sunday. In fact, he said the inauguration's go-ahead was given subject to not hiking the fares and it must stick to the agreement. Referring to the efforts by some Bharatiya Janata Party MPs of Mumbai like Kirit Somaiya and Gopal Shetty, Chavan alleged that "the BJP is helping RInfra in the fare hike". "The BJP must make its stand clear on the issue of fares and take responsibility for any hike in the ticket rates," Chavan said. He made it clear that any fare hike would only be after the opinion of the expert committee on fares and the state government was opposed to any arbitrary increase in the passenger ticket rates.