Metro 2B in way of Kalanagar decongestion plan

With vehicles coming from five directions, the stretch between Kalanagar and BKC witnesses crippling jams during peak hours. A survey by MMRDA showed more than 12,000 cars pass the BKC junction every hour

Travel woes of those travelling via Kalanagar junction in Bandra (East) are unlikely to end anytime soon, thanks to the proposed DN Nagar-Bandra-Mankhurd (Metro 2B) corridor.

With vehicles coming from five directions, the stretch between Kalanagar and BKC witnesses crippling jams during peak hours. A survey by MMRDA showed more than 12,000 cars pass the BKC junction every hour.

To ease the traffic movement, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) came up with a plan to build three flyovers in the area and gave out a contract to Simplex Infrastructure Ltd in October 2016. The contractor, however, has been unable to start the work, as the Metro 2B corridor is in the way of one of the three flyovers. The agency is now reconsidering the alignment of the flyovers and Metro line.

According to senior MMRDA officials, a ramp of one flyover, which will connect the sea link to Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC), clashes with the Metro 2B line from Kalanagar towards BKC. “We are working on the designs with the consultants. We are considering having a common pier for both the flyover and Metro, but nothing is final yet,” said UPS Madan, metropolitan commissioner, MMRDA.

Madan said once the designs are finalised, the contractor will start work on the flyovers in phases, to minimise the inconvenience caused to motorists.

The second flyover will be a two-lane bridge to allow commuters travelling towards the sea link to skip the traffic signals at BKC and Kalanagar junctions. The third flyover will have two sections -- one before the Mithi River bridge on Sion-Dharavi Link Road and the other from BKC junction. These sections will merge into a single three-lane elevated road above the existing Kalanagar flyover before ending at Kherwadi junction. Also, a 300- m long and 12-feet wide road will be built on the excise department’s land to ensure smooth dispersal of traffic from Dharavi to Mahim and sea link.

Was eco nod needed for nine Metro-3 stations?: HC
The Bombay high court (HC) on Thursday directed the ministry of environment and forests to file by March 29 an affidavit stating whether nine stations on the Metro-3 line needed a prior environmental clearance.

A division bench of chief justice Manjula Chellur and justice Girish Kulkarni was hearing two petitions filed by Nina Verma and Pervin Jehangir. Verma has raised concerns over the apparent harm to the green cover on the Churchgate-Colaba-Cuffe Parade stretch, while Jehangir has questioned the use of public land for construction of a Metro line.

In her plea, Verma said a close scrutiny of the documents given by the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (MMRCL) showed the work on Hutatma Chowk, Churchgate and Cuffe Parade stations on the Metro line, which will connect Colaba in the island city to the industrial hubs of Bandra and SEEPZ, should not have started. Her counsel, senior advocate Janak Dwarkadas, submitted that at least nine stations on the route are protected under the Environment Impact Assessment Notifications of 2006 and 2011, which makes prior environmental clearance mandatory to start work.

“They [MMRCL] will have to obtain environmental clearance before starting work on these stations,” said the senior advocate.

Senior advocate Aspi Chinoy, who appeared for the MMRCL, refuted the claims. The bench said it was necessary to seek stand of the MoEF on the issue.

Jehangir said a special purpose vehicle (MMRCL) created by MMRDA for the Metro line cannot be given powers like the railways to use public land for projects. He said the Metro Railway Act requires the contractor to acquire specific rights, even for using public lands temporarily.

The MMRCL said it has obtained all necessary permissions, adding the entire track and all stations on the line will be underground and 90% to 95 % of the land required for laying the line would be restored to its original position.