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Mumbai to get modern metro rail from Sunday

LiveMint logoLiveMint 07-06-2014 P. R. Sanjai

Mumbai: Mumbai will get a modern metro rail network, with Anil Ambani-led Reliance Infrastructure Ltd all set to begin operations from Sunday.

According to two persons close to development said Mumbai Metro One Pvt. Ltd’s (MMOPL) will start metro rail operations between 5.30 am to 12 mid-night daily.

“MMOPL will be having 16 trains as rolling stock to begin with. We are targeting 11 to 12 lakh passengers per day with at least 1500 passengers per train,” said one person quoted above. He requested anonymity.

He said total cost of the metro rail project is around Rs4300 crore.

MMOPL is a consortium led by Reliance Infrastructure. MMOPL is a joint venture between Reliance Infrastructure and Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (MMRDA). Reliance Infrastructure holds a 74% stake and the rest is held by MMRDA.

MMOPL’s chief executive officer Abhay Kumar Mishra was not available for an immediate comment.

Decks have been cleared for the inauguration at the weekend of the first line of the Mumbai Metro between Varsova, Andheri and Ghatkopar with the railway ministry giving it the safety and security clearance on Thursday.

Once operational, the first line of Mumbai Metro will reduce the average travel time between the western suburb of Versova and eastern suburb of Ghatkopar from 70 minutes to 20 minutes.

The 11.4-kilometre line was built over nearly seven years. The project’s original deadline was December 2010 but delays in land acquisition, shifting of utility lines and getting permission for constructing an overbridge at Andheri delayed the project by three-and- a-half years.

According to consulting firm EY, strengthening transport infrastructure is critical for India’s financial capital where, on average, a resident spends four hours a day commuting.

Greater Mumbai, which covers Colaba in the south to Mulund and Dahisar in the north and Mankhurd in the east, with a population of 16.4 million, houses twice as many people as New York City, says the website of EY. Suburban Mumbai has a density of 20,925 persons per sq km, twice that of New York’s.

“Complement this with the fact that the island city of Mumbai saw a decline in population, losing 140,000 residents, while the suburban areas gained 13.2 million, mostly driven by lower real estate prices in the suburbs,” said EY.

This metro rail line linking the eastern and the western suburbs of Mumbai will give residents a public transport alternative to traffic-heavy road connections and packed suburban commuter trains that offer little by way of passenger comfort and only run in a north-south direction, along the length of the island and its suburbs.

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