Next Metro stop could be Mumbra and Kalwa
TNN | Jan 9, 2019, 02.55 AM IST
THANE: After criss-crossing the Metropolis, Metro seems to be making its way into the hinterlands with the Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) considering an independent route to connect Kalwa and Mumbra with Thane and Mumbai.
TMC commissioner Sanjeev Jaiswal recently announced the plan and said that the two suburbs could get the much-required connect during phase-2 of Thane’s internal Metro project. “We have done an initial survey for the city and suburbs and it revealed that there is a good ridership potential for Metro routes in Kalwa and Mumbra. So, we have proposed to develop a route, but only in phase-2 of the internal Metro project. We have proposed to embark on a detailed project report and will seek the approval of the general body this month,” Jaiswal told TOI on Tuesday. A proposal is likely to be drafted and tabled for approval soon, said a source.
The two suburbs—Kalwa and Mumbai—have a combined population of nearly 8 lakh and it is likely to increase over the next few years, necessitating improved transport facilities, said an official.
According to the initial plans, the Metro link could either be a ring route to ensure maximum ridership or unidirectional, depending on the feasibility study. The ring route could connect Kalwa, Kharegaon, Mumbra, Kausa, Shil and Airoli, said an official, adding that the design depends on feedback from residents and experts.
“The execution of KalwaMumbra Metro, if approved, could be through a special purpose vehicle between TMC, state and the Maha-Metro corporation,” said another official.
Experts said there was an urgent need for an alternative mode of transport in these suburbs as locals here rely only on the railways to travel out. “If approved, the Metro could have stations at a distance of a kilometre each and would help reduce traffic congestion here. The stations could also be connected with personal rapid transport system that has already been okayed by the general body,” said an expert.
Another source, meanwhile, claimed that officials had a bigger plan in mind—to integrate the various transportation modes being planned in the northern extended suburbs of Mumbai.
“We plan to link the KalwaMumbra route with other routes like Taloja-Kalyan, Mumbai-Kasarvadavli, the bullet train and the network of road projects being planned in the suburbs. The idea is to meet the future transport demands of the suburbs,” said an official, requesting anonymity.
The TMC has already fasttracked the work on the internal Metro project and hopes to get it started along with Metro IV.—Wadala to Kasarvadavali A meeting to secure permissions from the state and central agencies to start work is likely to be held soon.
“We have started discussions to work out the financial model for the internal Metro project. A series of meetings have been scheduled over the next few weeks, where all requirements including securing permissions and decisions on execution will be worked out,” said an official who will be present at the meetings.
Activists have welcomed the proposal but are wary about the announcement being just a political gimmick in an election year. “We have been demanding an alternative to railways for years. We have suggested a parallel Metro route to link popular hotspots like Retibundr with Thane and Navi Mumbai along with access to state highways,” said Siddhesh Desai of the Kalwa Parsik Pravasi Sanghatana.