The 2020 deadline for Mumbai’s cycle track likely slips due to corruption and encroachments

Mumbai: The ambitious cycle track project, which is one of the poster projects of Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), is facing the dual complication of corruption and hindrances due to encroachments. The 36 km long cycle track along Tansa pipeline, called ‘Green Wheels along Blue Lines’, is battling on both these fronts. The Free Press Journal took stock of the situation to find only four kilometres of the work in Phase I is completed and none of the Phase II. BMC has already issued work orders for work of Phase I and Phase II in 2018. The standing committee is yet to pass the proposal for Phase III. The first phase will run along the Tansa pipeline from Mulund to CMT colony around Vile Parle, bordering around Andheri. The second phase will be between Santacruz and Mahim and a portion of the eastern suburbs. “A major problem is with clearance of encroachment along the Tansa pipeline since the project affected are rehabilitated at Mahul. They are resisting since the quality of life at the rehabilitation camp at Mahul poor,” said a project engineer. He added, as per the Bombay High Court (HC) order of 2009, BMC has cleared 16,000 encroachments around 10 metres of the pipeline.

However, the shifting of further encroachments have been stalled by the HC. “The encroachments along the pipeline at Kurla, Wadala and Bandra east, which is a part of Phase III, could not be cleared since the HC raised questions over the poor living conditions at Mahul,” the engineer said. The High Court had stayed the demolition drive due to poor infrastructure and the severe pollution in the residential premises at Mahul. “Till the BMC finds an alternative location to rehabilitate them, the work will not proceed,” said the civic engineer. Apart from legal hindrances, a corporator indicated the project is mired with corruption. “The BMC often likes to sit on a project for a long time. This increases the cost of the project and in-return commissions are given to the various officials who are supervising the projects,” he said. The estimated cost of the project is Rs 350 crore, which is to be paid over three years. The project has a budgetary provision of Rs 100 crore for 2018-19 and the deadline is 2020. “Looking at all these complications, the completion of the cycle track project by 2020 looks far-fetched,” said the corporator.

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