Metro Must Go Underground in Mumbai Suburbs too

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1.      Loss of green cover and cutting of thousands of trees to make way for Elevated Metro. Ecological disaster is irreversible.

Save fully grown trees for our children !

2.      Narrow roads that cannot support Elevated Metro.The roads especially SV road are narrow in suburbs and already straddled with traffic jams and bottlenecks.

Save roads and footpaths for pedestrians !

3.      Higher density of population especially residential in the Suburbs then in City prompts that Suburbs should be where it should Go Underground and not City.

4.      Higher built up construction in Suburbs leaves less space for Elevated Metro .Save roads for cars and pedestrians.Several plots and lands will be taken over for Metro.Buildings and houses will be running shoulders with Metro.

5.  Cancellation of over 8 overhead flyover  bridges on roads to make way for Metro.Like the flyover at Juhu Circle, Ghatkopar -Mankhurd Link Road, etc.     

6.      In areas like Juhu especially the Gulmohar road which is having string of hospitals, colleges and several other Institutions and auditoriums , the Elevated metro will cause nuisance, noise pollution,  congestion and disturb the patients, students and make life hell for all residents.

7.      Educational Institutions the world over are located in  large open campuses  where there is no disturbance and students can concentrate on their studies and other activities.  Here on the contrary, the Government is totally disregarding the interest of students who number may be above one lakh  in the Juhu area alone.The Metro will take over the already narrow campuses of these Colleges.

8.      Further the Elevated Metro is also coming in the path of the funnel of the Pawan Hans Juhu Airport and hence the Metro must be Underground .NOC has not yet been obtained from Airport Authority.

9.      Discrimination between the city and suburbs where Metro III is fully underground in spite of its  declining population while the Metro-II will be elevated  in spite of  increasing population in the  suburbs. Suburbs pay more taxes then city yet this step motherly treatment.Mumbai is Commercial Capital of the  nation.Is it only to be milched or will someone nurture this  cash cow ?! Bandra to Andheri is now Central Mumbai and is heart of Mumbai.

10.  Pedestrians will be badly affected as Skywalks built at huge costs will have to be dismantled to make way for Metro.What a gargantuan wastage of public moneys.The elevated Metro will eat into space on roads and pavements.

11. On 50 and 60 feet roads where there is no possibility of any expansion or widening and where the traffic problem is already increasing day by day, this elevated Metro will create tremendous problems and further inconvenience the common man. Narrow roads cannot cope today with the high density of vehicles. An elevated metro will decrease the road width further and create traffic problems of unthinkable proportions.

12.Currently, Mumbai’s open space ratio is suffocating, - (0.03 acres per 1000 residents) compared to Delhi or even Kolkata which are at 4 acres and above. Imagine how much more suffocating it would become with the elevated metro. The respiratory problems of Mumbaikars will reach alarming levels. What’s more deaths due to fire hazards will increase as there will be no space left for fire fighters to enter the locality. And in the unfortunate event of an earthquake, rescue and relief with an elevated rail will become impossible .

13. The expert committees including Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai have  prepared a well studied report where they have recommended that the Metro  must be under ground and not elevated above the ground.  The Government  has also accepted the validity of the report and  suddenly, now the Chief Minister  having totally ignored this report has taken a decision to construct Metro above the  ground.

14. This is a very long term permanent infrastructure project, say for 100 or 200 years and cost  should not be factor even if the initial capital investment is higher for an Underground Metro , as being argued by the  Government. London Underground was made over a 100 years ago. Are we still living in dark ages?! If it can be made Underground in Vijayawada of all places why not in Mumbai? Are we lacking in anything?

FUNDS :The Hon'ble CM whilst addressing a Meet the Opinion Makers in JVPD on 18th June said the City got soft Loan for Underground in the City of Rs.20K crores repayble in 30 years from Japan at 0.5 % only and repayments start after 10 years .
Then where is the dearth of money as is being made out for going Underground in suburbs too .

15. By imposing an elevated Metro in larger parts of Mumbai, the government is closing future expansion possibilities of the Metro into newer areas and routes for achievement of better and more efficient connectivity.The elevated Metro will lose flexibility inherent in an Underground.

16. Moreover, building an elevated Metro by occupying two lanes of the already heavily-congested arterial roads in this linear city will worsen existing road conditions. Importantly, it will worsen physical and visual congestion, raise noise and dust levels and make large vibrant areas of space and activity resemble derelict basements. Without doubt, such plans will promote unplanned anarchy.  The decay and decline of the city is being profoundly etched by such arrogant decisions.

17. It is more perplexing that the same leaders of present NDA Government who were vociferous along with the citizens of the city in favour of the Underground Metro when they were in ‘Opposition’ are now deciding for elevated Metro.

18.  It is equally shocking to learn that the government’s decision is based on a set of skewed reasons and facts that cannot stand the test of scrutiny. Moreover, such a decision is contrary to people’s demands and more importantly to larger development interest of the city.

19.  A city is built for the future. An elevated Metro for larger parts of the city is propelled by shortsighted and short-term interests, thereby imposing enormous burdens on its people for now and the future, making the city ugly.

20.  By imposing an elevated Metro in larger parts of Mumbai, the government is closing future expansion possibilities of the Metro into newer areas and routes for achievement of better and more efficient connectivity. Moreover, building an elevated Metro by occupying two lanes of the already heavily-congested arterial roads in this linear city will worsen existing road conditions. Importantly, it will worsen physical and visual congestion, raise noise and dust levels and make large vibrant areas of space and activity resemble derelict basements. Without doubt, such plans will promote unplanned anarchy.  The decay and decline of the city is being profoundly etched by such arbitrary decisions.

21.  How can development decisions be so oppressive on the citizens?

How can short-term interests shut doors for future expansion?

Instead of improving environmental conditions, plans for an elevated Metro are deliberately worsening these conditions in the city as seen and experienced in areas along the route.

How can a vital transport plan be deprived of its expansion potential over time to meet with growing demand for improved connectivity?

22.  We ask : Why are discriminatory yardsticks applied for different parts of the city?Why are different parts of the same city considered unequally privileged?

Why was the project not awarded as per CVC Guidelines ?

Lack of transparency as reported by TII on 24th June .Why was the project awarded at 18% higher then base price to same bidders? There ought to have been rebids as parameters changed. Lack of competitive bidding.Same amount could have been easily used to fund the difference in going underground.

Speedy  : It's erroneous for  the Government,  which seems to be in a hurry to do development , to think  that elevated Metro will be faster then Underground. There are several obstructions and issues dogging the elevated metro and the speedier way is to go underground.

23.  If density of construction and population criteria is fairly assessed, then the western parts of the northern city are worse than most areas of south Mumbai.

24.  The eastern parts of the northern city (both these areas are referred to as western suburbs and eastern suburbs respectively, which we strongly protest as being outdated and irrelevant) too are soon racing to get denser than its southern counterparts. Both these areas of the city are much larger in their area and population and therefore cannot simply be considered as the dumping ground, both physically and metaphorically, of the southern city. These large sections of the city’s population cannot be branded as being second-class citizens and given step-motherly treatment.

25.    Today, Mumbai has more business districts in the western and eastern parts of the city than what for so many years used to be limited to south Mumbai. This means that more and more people travel to different areas -- Thane, Chembur, Wadala, Bandra, Andheri, Malad, Marol and so on - than only to south Mumbai.

26.    The argument that an underground metro is much more expensive is being erroneously propagated with insufficient and inadequate facts and data. In all these calculations social, environmental, health, disruption costs, visual clutter, the actual construction time filled with uncertainty, besides inconveniences caused to people during its construction period, are ignored.

27.  In a short period after construction and commissioning of an elevated metro, the cost of the entire system would be equal to, if not exceed, the cost of underground. A detailed study and report by IIT Mumbai aptly puts this fact to public domain, in its report prepared in the year 2009, on being commissioned by a section of the city’s people.

28.  Go Underground: The way forward for now and the future progress of Mumbai lies in planning and implementing, even if in phases, underground metros for mass transport and ease of mobility in this expanding metropolis. Any plan otherwise is a bluff that is being perpetrated and therefore cannot be accepted due to the huge social and environmental costs that people will have to pay for.

29.  We therefore urge the state government to re-visit their decision and declare underground metros for all areas of Mumbai. One bad experience is good enough to not repeat the terrible mistakes that we have made. We trust wisdom will prevail?

30.  We vehemently oppose Elevated Metro anywhere in the Suburbs more particularly the CBM route reiterating following reasons :

31.  The entire Elevated alignment shall forever strangulate the three main arterial roads of the suburbs – S.V. Road , Gulmohar Road and New Link Road. Infact these are the only Arterial roads connecting Western Suburbs to entire city.

32.  Moreover the Elevated Alignment shall greatly negatively impact the Sion Panvel Road leading towards New Bombay and beyond.

33.  The alignment passing over SV Road is adjoining Juhu Airport thus the Elevated via duct or station is impossible to construct.

34.  54% of the 32 km. length of alignment is on curves. In other words 17 Km. falls on twists and turns thus reducing the speed as well as accident prone Metro. Further these curves are at 140 locations, wherein it takes 90o turn at eight prime locations requiring land acquisitions, displacement of people, public amenities, etc. at huge costs.

35.  The alignment will have to compromise with minimum ROW and open spaces as per the CFO regulation, (as it is evident in VAG Route).

36.  40% of the alignment will have to pass through CRZ notified areas.

37.  The alignment also necessitates complex rail bridges passing over huge rail tracks at existing Bandra and Kurla Railway stations.

38.  There are existing Electrical pylons going as high as seven storey as well as newly opened Eastern Free way which is constructed even higher. Therefore it would be structural monstrosity to construct Elevated Metro over these impediments.

39.  As per the earlier DPR over 1000 trees out of 1950 ancestral tress shall be uprooted apart from displacement of 7000 sqm. of existing Footpaths and Bus routes.

40.  We would also like to bring to your notice that once an Elevated Metro is constructed, all future expansion and upgradation of other mode of transport shall be deprived forever including Metro itself. The classic example is Airport Metro Station on VAG route where this station is just a few hundred meters away from Airport yet it will never have access to the Airport  !

41.  It appears from the media reports that the only reason for considering Elevated option is to reduce the cost. However, in Mumbai’s context it’s a myth. In any case, you are well aware, that for such mega infrastructure projects the Social Cost – Benefit Analysis are of prime importance over capital costs.

42. Futuristic and economical: The Underground Metro will positively impact the quality of life of the residents. It will do away with non-tangible social costs worth hundreds of crores like lost opportunity, hindrance to future development, living hardship caused to citizens and so on. Underground Metro will positively impact not only the quality of life for residents , but will surely be more cost beneficial in the longer term period as it will bring about a cheaper and environment friendly integrated transport system.

43.  We therefore call upon the MMRDA and the Government to abandon the elevated Metro 2B in suburbs as it is socially, economically and environmentally disastrous and to proceed with Metro 2 and 3 as underground lines.

44.   We are all aware that if the Metro is elevated and not underground our Suburbs will be catastrophically affected and it will prove to be calamity for our future generations for which they will never forgive us .

45.   Although the suburbs are denser in population and built up area with  narrower roads and although we are paying more taxes in the suburbs than the city we have been given step motherly treatment and there is discrimination between City and Suburbs. We are now the Central Mumbai and must now be given our due share.

46. All rail based transport mode should substitute existing vehicular roads , easily accessible to most of the commuters and provide enough opportunities to expand -  Metrorails as well as major Roads. Most importantly they're designed for at least a hundred years. Therefore it's high capital cost should be weighed as an investment for its cost benefits , rather than mere capital costs. It is primarily for these reasons that Metrorail in most parts of the developed cities across the world opt for Underground metros.

47. However in the city of Mumbai MMRDA is continuing projects based on certain reports made during the tenure of last government. It appears they have not reviewed these DPRs especially for Metro projects in line with the aspiration of present government.

48. This is evident in even Line 1 (VAG Route) where its ‘Airport station’ does not have access to Airport and huge catchment from MIDC/SPEEZ is not connected though it is not too far from the alignment. Therefore commuters are deprived of these shortcomings forever!

49. Moreover all the on-going Metro alignments in Mumbai are stand alone projects with negligible interconnectivity. Thus the most important characteristics of  Rail based public transport which is movement of mass public to various destinations is ignored. For eg. Elevated metro - 2A & 2B  as planned does not have seamless connectivity to the island city or even to the Airports.

50. With this background here is a simple solution in three steps as an alternative   for 23.6 km. long Metro 2B corridor - from DN Nagar to Mandala.

STEP 1. 

Construct metro rail of only 4.5 km underground between DNNagar and Santacruz Bus depot and simply connect it to ongoing underground Metro 3 which is merely 750  mtrs away near domestic terminalon WEH .


This 5.25 km. underground route will immediately give super seamless connectivity of almost 45 km distance between Dahisar and Colaba (via BKC) . It will also give direct connectivity of 36 km distance between Dahisar to SEEPZ ( via  Airports and MIDC).


While above alignment is being constructed, expand underground route of approx 7.5 km from Santacruz Bus depot connecting again to the ongoing Metro 3 at Mahim causeway on SV road , - via Bandh road, Pali Hill,Bandra reclamation , etc.


This expanded route will give easy accessibility to residents, of the entire western side of Santacruz /Khar / Bandra , seamless connectivity to four streams in different directions towards Colaba, BKC, Airports and Dahisar.

 Once both these underground alignments are connected easily with Metro 3 then, as much as 70%  of Mumbai's population is serviced by  metro routes.At the same time major arterial roads will be saved from elevated tracks.

 The biggest added advantage is possibly controversial Aarey Metroyard may be eliminated because seamless connectivity of Metro 3  will have direct access to Dahisar Metro yard.


On the other side start constructing eastern arm of Metro 2B, from Mankhurd to BKC as planned but again with underground alignment, which will reduce length  by about 1.5 km in a distance of 13.3 km. and avoid complexities of crossing over eastern free way, Monorail, rail tracks andflyovers at Kurla, Mithi river, etc.


This route will also give super seamless connectivity to all residents in eastern suburbs to Colaba in the south to Airports in the North /west and Dahisar towards the extreme western edge of the city. Also it will further connect  commuters of Step 1 and 2 above  to seamless travel towards Mankhurd.

 Thus,  such a  simple solution will overcome innumerable hurdles (as listed below)  in the elevated Metro 2B and give tremendous boost to ridership many fold without distorting any of our arterial roads.Needless to say these simple modification will certainly realise before 2020 with negligible additional cost.


 1.                S.V. Road near Juhu Airport where the Elevated  Metrorail will conflict with Airport Funnel.

 2.                Skywalks at Vile Parle and Santacruz to be modified.

 3.                Entire Bandra Skywalk on SV road to be scrapped.

 4.                Elongated route of about 1.75 km.,  just to cross Bandra West to East.

 5.                Crossing over Bandra tracks at 25 mtr. level.

 6.                Crossing over Mithi river at Bandra (E)

 7.                Crossing over Thackery flyover on WEH at 22 mtr. level.

 8.                Crossing over massive Kurla tracks at 20 mtr. level.

 9.                Crossing over HT lines and Flyover in Kurla East at 22 mtr. level.

 10.            Crossing over Mono Rails on Sion Panvel road at 23 mtr. height .

 11.            Crossing over Eastern freeway at Shivaji Chowk.

 12.            Clogging further all the major arterial roads  of Western and Eastern suburbs thus depriving any future plans for improvising vehicular/pedestrian movements.

 13.            Large parcels  of land acquisitions from private and public properties around Metro stations.

     We have witnessed the demise of the Vileparle station road and other roads by making huge skywalks and now its turn of Elevated Metro to kill all the arterial roads.

   We all want the METRO but Underground.