The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) has indeed implemented a few projects, and successfully at that, for the betterment of this vibrant city. “Traveling from the Western suburbs to the Eastern suburbs was an arduous task, to say the least, only a few years ago. Today, with the Jogeshwari-Vikhroli Link Road almost complete, the travel time has been reduced to less than thirty minutes!”, said Mr.Ratnakar Gaikwad, Metropolitan Commissioner, MMRDA. ”It’s also fun to reach Thane from Sion within thirty minutes and similar comfort and ease is experienced while traveling to Borivli from Bandra. Many a road has been widened and constructed under ambitious projects such as Mumbai Urban Transport Project and Mumbai Urban Infrastructure Project”, said Mr.Gaikwad further.
The flyovers – completed as also under construction – are yet another facility to add a spring or two to the movement of vehicular traffic. The flyovers at Airport junction, Dindoshi, Thakur Complex on the Western Express Highway and Navghar Junction on the Eastern Express Highway have been completed. The flyovers at Sion Hospital and Malad Junction are opened partially. Both are scheduled to be opened for traffic fully in January 2010. And what with at least two more flyovers on the Dr Ambedkar Road heading towards completion by December next, its time to say bye-bye to the traffic snarls. Similarly the Elevated Sahar Road, a direct link to International Airport from Western Express Highway, improving connectivity to Mumbai Port will also be completed in 2010. Nearly 50% of the work has already been completed.
The skywalks, is a gift from MMRDA to the Mumbaikars, especially for the school and college going kids and not-so-young ones. It affords a walkway that is encroachment free and accident free. Even the Bombay High court, very recently, observed that “Heavy traffic, crowding of the shops and people is an unending process in this metro city and that the skywalk is an alternative and good substitute for the footpaths” and that the sky-way is a new concept and we are of the opinion that it takes time for the people to get used to the new ways and methods. “I think the resentment is more about the inconvenience caused while the construction is underway, rather than anything else”, said Ms.Ashwini Bhide, Joint Metropolitan Commissioner, MMRDA. “At the same time, we need study few surveys which indicate that more than 50% people in the city – about 5.5 million – walk on road and this fact necessitates the construction of skywalks in the city as well as its metropolitan region”, said Ms Bhide further. While 10 skywalks have already been opened, fully or partially, for public; the MMRDA will throw open in all 51 skywalks for public by May 2010
The Metro Rail and Mono Rail projects are sure to complement Mumbaikars’ commute. Both the projects will reduce the burden as far as the Western and Central local trains are concerned. While the Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar Metro route will provide one more connectivity between the Western and Eastern Suburbs, the Mono Rail on Chembur-Wadala-Jacob Circle route will provide an alternative to the commuters from the Eastern suburbs. “I am sure; once the Metro and Mono Rail is operational we will witness a shift from private transport to pubic transport as the both would be affordable, comfortable, risk free and environment friendly. Yes, I quite agree that the public at large is put to inconvenience. However, I would earnestly request them to support us in developing infrastructure that will solve their commuting woes and, in return, promise them that the inconvenience will be temporary, and, the comfort, permanent”, said Mr. SVR Srinivas, Additional Metropolitan Commissioner, MMRDA. The first Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar Metro Rail as also the first corridor of India’s first Mono Rail from Chembur to Wadala will be commissioned in December 2010. The second corridor from Wadala to Jacob Circle is scheduled to be completed in the year 2011.The feasibility study for the Thane-Bhiwandi-Kalyan Mono Rail route is being conducted too and is expected to be completed within three months.
Another remarkable achievement for the MMRDA has been the construction of 11,000 toilet seats under the Nirmal Ahbiyan Project in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region. The MMRDA kick started this project in the year 2008 and planned to construct in all 24,000 toilet seats. The remaining 13,000 toilet seats are scheduled to be constructed by March 2010.
The work on the National Research and Training Institute also began this year with a three-day workshop. The committee of MMRDA and Federal Transit Administration (FTA) experts took into consideration various pros and cons of the circumstances presented by the systems and processes that exist today vis-à-vis the transport facilities available now and will be shaped up in time to come. The few week-long courses charted out for the NRTI curriculum are:
- Safety and Security – pre and post construction of the transport facility
- Disaster management and Emergency Response
- Table-top exercises – scheduled and unscheduled exercises
- Capacity building in general procurement of procedures for public transport systems and services
- Transportation planning
- Integrated fare systems
- Environmental sustainability
It is pertinent to note that the MMRDA is involved in development of outer areas connecting with the city too. The 140 km Virar-Alibaug multi-modal corridor is an example. There will be eight lanes for the vehicles besides the dedicated lanes for the buses. The road will also have a Metro Rail track right in between the corridor. This freeway will begin from Virar on the National Highway 18 and will culminate at Alibaug on the National Highway 17 via Bhiwandi, Kalyan, Dombivli and Panvel. The execution of this corridor will begin in 2010.
The year 2010 will bring a lot of relief to people who are hunting for affordable tenements as about 50,000 tenements – admeasuring 160 square feet each – will be ready under the Rental Housing Project launched by the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority in areas such as Thane, Bhiwandi, Dahisar, Manpada etc.
The Iconic Tower and the Innovation Park are the two projects which will make this city very proud, for sure. The MMRDA has already invited expression of interest for the development of Iconic Tower at Wadala on Design, Build, Own, Operate and Transfer (DBOOT) basis under Public Private Partnership (PPP) and have received great response from eleven reputed Consulting firms. The bidding process is complete and the project is gain momentum in the next year.
The process of establishment of Innovation Park is an arduous task involving many a stakeholder. The MMRDA has already received 10 responses from top global and national brands showing keen interest in developing the Innovation Park, which will boast of global standards and will be Asia’s biggest.
The Innovation Park will have global standard research centers, International convention centre, Business incubators, Design Institutes etc. The focus areas will be the domains like petrochemical laboratories, pharmaceuticals, bio technology, bio-polymers, micro electronics, embedded systems, perfumes, aromatic compounds, water technologies. Clean technologies, green energy, fuel cells, digital media, health etc.