Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who Saturday launched three more metro lines for the city worth over Rs 19,000 crore, underlined the need to create cities of the 21st century world, as without which "our aim of becoming a USD 5-trillion economy will remain a pipe-dream". Modi, who also laid the foundation stone for the Metro Bhavan, said there is a need to create systems to address the concerns of mobility, connectivity, productivity, safety and sustainability in our cities.
The three new metro projects are the Rs 4,476-crore 9.2-km Gaimukh-Shivaji Chowk (Mira Road) metro-10; the Rs 8,739-crore 12.8-km Wadala-CST metro-11; and the Rs 5,865- crore 20.7-km Kalyan-Taloja metro-12 corridor. The these new lines are expected to be completed by 2026, when the megapolis will have 337 km of metro network across 14 lines covering the entire MMR area.
The 32-storey Metro Bhavan, to come up at the Aarey Colony in the northern suburb Goregaon, will be the integrated operations and control centre of the metro project. Significantly, the Metro Bhawan is coming on a 20,387 sqmt forest land deep inside the Aarey Colony, which is one of the two large green lungs of the nation's densest city, and will with a developable area of 1,14,088 sqmt.
The project is coming up against strident public protest in the city, blaming the state and city administration for felling tens of thousands of trees in the Aarey Colony-- home to hundreds of wildlife species and flora and fauna. "As we have set a target to become a USD 5 trillion economy in the next five years, we will have to develop our cities in sync with the 21st century world. For this, we will have to develop systems to ensure mobility, connectivity, productivity, safety and sustainability," Modi said.
Speaking about the metro projects, he said, "be it the new metro lines or the Metro Bhavan or the elevated BKC bridge connecting the highway...all of them are undertaken with a vision to make life easier for the commuters," he said. Congratulating chief minister Devendra Fadnavis for the speedy execution of various infra projects in the city, Modi said, "Mumbai is one city that has given pace to the whole country. Every citizen loves this city. In the past five years, we've taken many efforts to develop infra projects, which are not only going to meet the present-day needs but are also envisioned for making lives easier in the future."
Modi said no one would have imagined that many much delayed projects like the Navi Mumbai international airport or the transharbour link or the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project would start at this pace and scale. "Our intent is to spend Rs 100 lakh crore to develop infrastructure across the country. Along with Mumbai, we also want to develop other cities," he said.
"In the past five years, Rs 1.5 lakh crore were spent on various infra projects in the city. Also we are now making metro coaches in the country. In other words, infrastructure development means employment opportunities," he said, adding across the metro projects which are operational and also under-development, nearly 10,000 engineers and 40,000 skilled and unskilled workers have got employment.
"Infrastructure projects which are undertaken in small areas as well as in the metros have generated more jobs. But no one is talking about this. Probably because people have never seen projects being undertaken at a massive scale like this," he said. It can be noted that Modi also rolled out the first of the 500 metro coaches manufactured by Bharat Earth Movers in flat 75 days at it Bengaluru facility.
Modi said the first metro line was developed 35 years ago (in Calcutta) "but today, we have nearly 675 km of metro lines operational across 27 cities. Of these, nearly 400 km became operational in the past five years and nearly 850 km are under various stages of construction. In the past five years alone, we have approved almost 600 km of metro lines."
Addressing the gathering, Fadnavis exuded confidence that by 2020-21 around 120 km of the metro network will be operational. "By 2023-24, another 85 km of metro network will commence operations and the rest by 2025. Today 80 lakh passengers are using the suburban rail lines. Once the entire metro network is operational, nearly 100 lakh people will travel on these metro lines."
He claimed that the metro system will reduce carbon emissions by 2.5 crore tonne in the city. He also said his government is working towards creating an integrated ticketing system designed to create "one-nation, one-card" that can be used for all modes of public transport across the megapolis. Fadnavis said the Metro Bhavan will be the largest control centre in country monitoring the entire network. There will also be a training centre in the Bhavan where experts from Milan and Singapore will train the metro staff. "I am happy to say that we have taken his programme of promoting local manufacturing ahead and created the first indigenous metro coach built by the state-run Bharat Earth Movers," the chief minister said.
Fadnavis also sought the Centre's approval for the first hybrid metro project the state has planned for Nashik. "As the prime minister has approved several projects in the state, I would request him to approve this one as well. If we do the hybrid projects, I am confident, we will be able to take the metro to even smaller areas."
Currently, of the 14 metro corridors-- civil works on six are underway. These are the Dahisar-DN Nagar metro-2A; DN Nagar-Mandale metro-2B; Colaba-Bandra-Seepz metro-3; Wadala- Kasarvadavli metro-4 corridor, Swami Samarth Nagar-Vikhroli metro-6; and Andheri (East) to Dahisar (East) metro-7 corridor.