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Mumbai

Updated on: Saturday, July 24, 2021, 12:01 AM IST

FPJ Anniversary: Nine infra projects that changed the face of Mumbai

Over the years several prominent infra projects have been implemented that have changed the face of Mumbai; from reducing commute time to offering multiple options to travel these additions have made moving around the city a breeze
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Mumbai Metro One

The Mumbai Metro One that runs from Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar Corridor, in 2021 has completed seven years. This was the first Metro project awarded in the country on a Public Private Partnership (PPP) basis and entails design, financing, construction, operation and maintenance of about 12 km elevated metro with 12 stations en-route. The Mass Rapid Transit System project was awarded by Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) through a global competitive bidding process on PPP framework to RInfra-led consortium in 2007.

In June 8 2014, this metro line was opened up for the public and since then it has served more than 668 million commuters, covering eight million km with 99.9 per cent punctuality, proving the highest train performance levels and a completely accident-free service.

The Mumbai Metro One has provided much-needed east to west connectivity and has carried millions of commuters since its inception. This Metro line saves 90 minutes of travel time but also ensures that its commuters get a world class experience. As part of this, MMOPL led by RInfra introduced 'One Mumbai Metro Card' recently so to ensure contactless and cashless travel for Mumbaikars. This will pave the way towards the new normal for Mumbai’s daily commuters. It also drives wider acceptance on contactless payments in a digitally connected world, making it interoperable for cardholders to use their cards for travel and transit across Mumbai.

Did you know?

A special purpose vehicle, namely, Mumbai Metro One Private Limited (MMOPL) was incorporated for the implementation of the project. It looks after the maintenance and operations of Metro One. RInfra holds 74 per cent of the equity share capital of MMOPL, while MMRDA holds 26 per cent.

Eastern Freeway:

The MMRDA had undertaken the 16.9 km-long Eastern Freeway Project considering the future traffic and other transportation demands. Since thousands of commuters travelling from South Mumbai towards Thane-Nashik and Panvel-Pune the project aimed to not just save travel time but also save fuel once open for traffic movement. The freeway at present is facilitating seamless travel experience to the commuters. It has also helped clear traffic congestion in the Island city.

The Project was divided in 3 parts--Eastern Freeway – Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalay to Anik Junction (Elevated corridor) was the Part 1. The First part of the freeway runs from SV Patel junction on P D'Mello Road and meets Anik-Panjarpol Link Road via Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT). This road was constructed on elevated corridor after considering the demand from MbPT so as to enable faster movement of heavy traffic towards MbPT. The 9.29 km long Eastern Freeway, which is 17.2 m-wide has 2+2 lanes.

Similarly, the Anik-Panjarpol Link Road is the second part of the Eastern Freeway Project. It starts from Anik in Wadala and ends at Panjarpol Junction on the Sion-Panvel Link Road. It comprises five bridges, 3 underpasses, 2 tunnels and 1-foot overbridge on this 4.3 km road. It also includes elevated as well as on ground 4+4 lane concretized road.

While the third part of eastern freeway project is the elevated Panjarpol-Ghatkopar Link Road. It starts from Panjarpol Junction on the Sion-Panvel Link Road and culminates at Chembur-Mankhurd Link Road via Tukaram Patil Marg. This link road is 3 km long, and provide 2+2 lanes.

While the two Bridges across Mahul Creek joining Eastern Freeway and Anik-Wadala Link Road opened for traffic in April 2014, And the Eastern Freeway Part-3 was opened for traffic in June 2014.

Santacruz-Chembur Link Road:

The Santa Cruz–Chembur Link Road (SCLR), is a 6.45-kilometre-long arterial road in Mumbai, connecting the Western Express Highway (WEH) in Santa Cruz with the Eastern Express Highway (EEH) in Chembur. It is city's first and India's second double-decker flyover.

The six-lane road was constructed as part of the World Bank-funded Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP) at a cost of Rs 454 crore. However, the World Bank withdrew funding midway as the project was repeatedly delayed. Following which the second phase was financed by the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) with its own funds.

The SCLR was severely delayed, the groundwork for the road, originally slated to start in 2003, did not get underway until 2007. The project missed so many deadlines since the original deadline of November 2004. The SCLR was termed an "engineering marvel" and was described by the World Bank as the "world's most delayed road project."

A portion of the SCLR, the 560 m Kurla–Kalina flyover over LBS Marg, was opened to the public on 10 August 2012. The SCLR was opened to the public on 18 April 2014.

Jogeshwari-Vikhroli Link Road:

The Jogeshwari – Vikhroli Link Road (JVLR), is a 10.6-kilometre-long 6-lane road with a central median in Mumbai which connects the Western Express Highway and Eastern Express Highway providing speedier access from Jogeshwari in the Western Suburbs to Vikhroli in the Eastern Suburbs. It was opened to traffic in 1994, and widened from 2-lane to 6-lane road in 2012 at a cost of Rs 221.45 crore approximately.

The entire 10.6 km-long JVLR, starting from WEH and ending at EEH, is divided into three sections. The JVLR and SCLR projects were initially entrusted to the Public Works Department, and later to the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC). The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) was appointed as the nodal agency. The entire project to widen and improve the JVLR was implemented in two phases, and completed in February 2012.

AC local trains

Debates and discussions are on over running semi-air conditioned local trains in Mumbai rather than an entire 12-car AC train. An online survey in the form of a questionnaire is also underway with nearly 15,000 respondents replying to questions on how they want their AC local to run in Mumbai, desired fare among other things.

While the Indian Railways are thinking of running 6-car air conditioned coaches attached to another 6-car or 9-car regular coaches; the passenger associations are demanding 3-AC coaches be added to a 9-car or 12-car non-AC coaches.

The introduction of AC local in suburban rail system has really changed the way people travel. The semi-AC locals are the future of Mumbai as upcoming procurement of EMU rakes for Mumbai consists of air-conditioned ones.

As per plans, 238 AC rakes costing Rs 19,293 crore has been proposed for the future under MUTP-3 and 3A projects. These will run on the Churchgate-Dahanu corridor of Western Railway, CSMT-Kalyan-Kasara/Karjat on the Main line, CSMT-Panvel on Harbour line on Central Railway and other corridors connecting Mumbai with rest of its metropolitan region.

Did you know?

Indian Railways got its first AC local in December 2017 when Western Railway operated it on Churchgate-Virar corridor. By 2019, the air-conditioned train started receiving good response from Mumbaikars, as the authorities earned Rs 40 crore from 95.81 lakh passengers.

12-car and 15-car trains

Mumbai’s suburban trains are the lifeline for lakhs of people. Before the pandemic the daily average was 80 lakh on both Central and Western Railways. Over the past one-and-half years, the number of people on essential duties travelling in local trains has ranged from 15 lakh to 35 lakh. This necessitated the need for longer trains.

In the 1980s, Mumbai’s rail network was crowded and poorly equipped. By the time the ’90s rolled around, the creaking infrastructure could barely hold up. This is when the rail authorities decided to augment the carrying capacity. To keep up, railway authorities increased the number of coaches in trains from the previous 9-car to 12-car in 1986.

This 33% increase surely helped ramp up the carrying capacity. The railway officials said that earlier the 9-car used to carry 2,500-3,000 commuters during peak hours, which went up to 4,200-4,500 commuters when 12-car was introduced. These trains had a carrying capacity of 1,700 passengers or so however 14-16 passengers were cramped in per sq. meter of space inside the train’s coaches.

Mumbai local trains are said to be one of most crowded modes of public transit systems in the world. Road commute being a nightmare owing to vehicular traffic; people preferred travelling in local trains despite it being super dense crowded. This is when rail authorities decided to augment carrying capacity by another 25 percent as they augmented first 12-car train into a 15-car in 2009.

For the last decade or so these 15-car trains have been a boost to rail commuters as it has immensely helped during peak hours. Over the years, the authorities also carried out works of extending the platforms by few meters to accommodate the additional coaches. As 15-car trains catered mainly the fast corridor, crowding at important stations got addressed.

Now, the rail authorities have begun operating the 15-car train even on the slow corridor. For instance, the WR started running it on Andheri-Virar line that caters lakhs of commuters.

Station revamp and infrastructure upgrade:

Mumbai’s rail infrastructure was crumbling and on the other hand the passenger numbers were increasing. The foot over bridges, road over bridges built during the British era, had become old and worn out. It was a nightmare for people climbing the staircases of FOBs connecting the platforms, walking on them to crisscross to west or east side or even for motorists using the ROBs built over rail lines.

However, two incidents triggered the transformation of rail infrastructure; the Elphinstone Road (now Prabhadevi) stampede and partial collapse of Gokhale Bridge in Andheri. Post these incidents, IIT Bombay audited 445 bridges on Mumbai suburban section, post that the dilapidated ones were dismantled and are being replaced with new ones.

In a bid to strengthen Mumbai's rail infrastructure, on the Central Railway, 115 escalators will be built at a cost of Rs 50 crore; Rs 80 crore has been earmarked for FOBs. Likewise, on the Western Railway, provision has been made for 7 FOBs while at 8 stations, additional FOBs will be built. Throughout this lockdown last year, the rail authorities completed quite a number of works, which included revamp of railway stations, building FOBs, ROBs, escalators and elevators. Many of them have also been opened up for public use.

The railways also initiated new format of station premises wherein the concourse of the station has been built on top of the platforms and these are interconnected with FOBs. Thus, this has allowed free movement to people and also additional space to walk. Even the food stalls, book stalls, medical stores and other provisions are available on this elevated concourse. This has helped in decongesting the platforms below. In larger scale of plans, the Indian Railways have proposed revamp of stations like Andheri, Dadar, Kalyan, Thakurli, CSMT, Bandra, Thane and Borivali stations.

Mobile ticketing

Back in December 2014, Mumbai suburban’s ticketing system saw entry of ticketless way of travelling in local trains. For the first time mobile ticketing was launched in which people had the option of filling in details of their journey from their phone number after which a print out of ticket could have been taken from ATVM machines.

Gradually, over the years, system was upgraded in a way that passengers can simply buy the local train ticket on their cell phone using UTS mobile app. Thus it eliminated the need to carry a printed ticket or even Season pass to travel in local trains. Over the past 7 years the contribution of mobile ticketing has barely been 1-2 percent; though in the initial 2-3 years it was less than 0.5 percent of total suburban commuters who availed mobile ticketing.

The railway authorities believe that due to the pandemic, the scope for mobile ticketing would increase as people would not want to stand in queues at ticket booking counters and would prefer downloading using the mobile app. The ticket checking staff has also been provided hand held machines for checking these tickets.

Recently, the railways and Maharashtra government started QR Code based Universal Travel Pass. In this, train tickets along with photo identity cards will be there on the mobile phones of people travelling on essential duties. These can also be used to travel in Metro rail and Monorail and gradually in BEST buses too.

Mumbai’s CCTV camera project

The Government of Maharashtra provided Mumbai Police a holistic and integrated video surveillance system in Mumbai in 2015, with the objective of enhancing safety and security in the city. This system is integrated with surveillance systems of different stakeholders with the objective of enhancing safety and security in the city.

In the first phase of the project, 5,300 cameras were installed by 2016. The government is now in the last leg of launching another 7,000 cameras. Since its inception, Mumbai Police and the traffic police have installed a series of CCTV cameras with high-end features like Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR), high speed among others.

Towards the end of 2020, the then Commissioner of Police had issued an order saying it was mandatory for housing societies, malls, religious places, petrol pumps, banks, ATMs, shopping complexes, educational institutions and multiplexes to cover their outer area with CCTV cameras. In the first three months of 2021, the private entities had added 50,000 CCTV cameras. The Mumbai police aim at installing around 3 lakh additional cameras, which will cover the entire nook and corner of the city.

The CCTV cameras have turned out as the police's virtual third eye as they have helped in the detection of a number of crimes, ranging from molestation and theft to murders, at times when there were no policemen present around the crime spots. While the CCTVs have helped in keeping a sharp eye at the spots where they are located, the captured images come in handy as case evidence. Moreover, these CCTV cameras also helped to issue e-challans to the traffic violators.

Police sources said, the move was well appreciated by all zonal police officers, as it so often happens that there are no eye witnesses in the cases, but the presence of these CCTV footages prove to be an integral part of the investigation of any case that was taken up by the police. The officer added, it also helps them to take a footage grab of the accused’s face, which fast-forwards the otherwise slow probe.

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Published on: Saturday, July 24, 2021, 12:01 AM IST
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