Residents miffed as Navi Mumbai Metro awaits inauguration

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Residents miffed as Navi Mumbai Metro awaits inauguration

As Navi Mumbaikars have been patiently waiting for the inauguration of the city’s first Metro line for the last 12 years, there seems to be no confirmation on when the line would be finally inaugurated. According to the sources from City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO), the wait for the date continues as they still await a confirmation for the availability of Prime Minister. The residents of Kharghar now demand to end the wait and start the metro without an inauguration by any VVIP. “The foundation for the metro was laid in the year 2011 and since then people have been just waiting. From the budget of RS 300 crore, it has gone over ₹2000 crore and it all belongs to the public. Metro is ready, then why not start it,” questioned Dr Swapnil PAwar, a Kharghar resident.

For years now, in the name of metro line, the property rates too have been going high. “In the year 2014, we purchased a 3 BHK in Kharghar sector 35 D at about ₹1.6 crore. This particular sector is at the end of the node and when we purchased it, there were no buildings around or any development and yet the charges were high in the name of the upcoming Metro project. Now the same flat costs around ₹2.75 crore but there is no sign of the Metro train. Since 2018 they have been conducting trial runs. Even today morning, I saw the trial run happening but what is the use of this when the public money is being wasted this way. We had purchased the property here as it is closer to the Metro station hoping that when kids grow up, they can use the service to travel. My child is in college now and I don’t know if he would be able to use the service,” Ishika Sudhija said. Not just builders, but even colleges have used the name of Metro to fleece donations, she adds. “I know of students in the colleges in Kharghar wherein they were told that their commuting would be easier as the college is near to Metro station and by giving that reason, donations were asked,” Sudhija added. Kharghar is known to be the educational hub of Navi Mumbai due to the number of colleges and schools that the node has and over the years many have shifted to Kharghar for the same reason.

The Maharashtra government is implementing Navi Mumbai Metro Rail Project at Navi Mumbai through CIDCO, a state undertaking. The alignment is Belapur – Kharghar – Pendhar – Taloje – MIDC – Kalamboli - Khandeshwar - Navi Mumbai International Airport (NMIA) has total length of 26.26 kms on four lines. Navi Mumbai Metro line-1 (NMML-1) starts from CBD Belapur to Pendhar comprising of 11 No. of stations having 11.1 Km length. CIDCO has also appointed Maha-Metro as Operator for Operation & Maintenance of NMM Line-1 Project for 10-years duration after start of commercial operations. Project cost of NMML-1 is Rs. 3063.63 Crores which is being 100% funded by surplus internal accruals of CIDCO, said CIDCO.

NMML-1 travels through the main areas of city connecting Corporate Park, Central Park, various educational institutes, Taloja Industrial area and CIDCO’s ambitious project Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY). The rates of the Cidco start from ₹10 for up to 2 kms, ₹15 up to ₹4 kms and ₹5 increase in every 2 kms. Beyond 10 kms, the rate is ₹40. “If one has to travel from Taloja to CBD Belapur, the rate would be ₹40. The population in Taloja, which belongs to lower income strata, won’t be able to afford that on a daily basis. They have to pay only ₹20 to reach till Kharghar railway station in the ‘kaali-peeli’ vans on a share basis,so why would they spend ₹40. Hence, I have also written to CIDCO to consider revising the ticket rate,” Dr Pawar said.