Work on the 2B corridor, which will connect D N Nagar and Mankhurd, has begun at several places along its 23.6km route. The corridor will run along the 3.6 km-long arterial BKC road.
MMRDA metropolitan commissioner R A Rajeev did not respond to calls or texts by TOI.
A senior MMRDA official said, “Earlier, the Metro 2B viaduct and the flyover at Kala Nagar were to be constructed on the same pillar on the BKC road median. The flyover was planned on Level 1 and the viaduct on Level 2.”
Article in the Times of India
Now, there has been a change in the alignment at the 200-metre stretch between the Kala Nagar junction and the family court junction on BKC road. The Metro corridor will be built on the pavement of the carriageway that takes traffic from BKC to the Western Express Highway.
The official said, “The Matoshree bungalow is located close to the BKC road. We did not want to take any chances at a later stage of the project when work would be on in full swing. Hence, we felt it is better to shift the viaduct further south from the median to ensure there is a safe distance between the viaduct, the proposed Metro station and the Matoshree bungalow.”
The official further said the other reason was that land for the station would have proved to be inadequate, “which also prompted us to shift the pavement by around 10 metres”.
Another official said, “We plan to complete the construction of the Kala Nagar stretch much earlier, probably before October when assembly elections are held. Constructing the Metro corridor is a time-consuming task, which could have delayed the flyover project too. Hence, a decision was taken to segregate both the projects.”
Citizen activists are up in arms against the realignment. Juhu resident and architect Nitin Killawala, who has been demanding an underground Metro corridor for the same project on behalf of Santacruz and Juhu residents, said, “MMRDA has not even considered the structural stability or safety of our buildings or shown any concern for loss of open space, but in this case it has moved with alacrity.”
Structural engineer Jamshed Sukhadwala said, “MMRDA is worried about the safety of one particular family but MMRC (Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation) had been ignoring and has ignored a minority community’s religious sentiments. As compared to Metro 2B, we Parsis only wanted minor changes in the Metro 3 alignment by shifting one of the tunnels by 7 metres, so that the Metro 3 corridor does not pass below our fire temple. But MMRC was adamant, and only after legal proceedings, was willing to shift the tunnel by merely 3.5 metres. They could have easily cooperated a little more and shifted an additional 2.5 metres by bringing the tracks closer at Kalbadevi station, like the next Girgaum station along the same corridor, and under similar conditions. Metro 3 itself has carried out a number of changes on its corridor, prominent being redesigning its station near the domestic airport to save a 100-year-old tree.”