Extension and the addition of New Lines to Namma Metro – Phase 2

On 20 October 2011, the first Bangalore metro line ran from Baiyyappanahalli to Mahatma Gandhi Road for a distance of 6.7 kilometers heaved a sigh of relief. After hearing so much about Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore had one for itself. Let’s know more about the networks, constructions and the controversies the Bangalore Metro is surrounded by.

Bangalore Metro, Source: Google Images

An Overview of Namma Metro

Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) is a joint venture of Government of India and the Government of Karnataka. It is a Special Purpose Vehicle entrusted with the responsibility of implementation of Bangalore Metro Rail Project.

The Bangalore Metro began its operations in October 2011. Since then, it has turned into the lifeline for a large number of commuters in Bangalore. The air-conditioned metro trains have provided commuters the key to a fast, safe, comfortable and reliable journey. The metro system is designed for a maximum train speed of 80 km/hr. but the trains are allowed to commercially run at a speed of not more than 67.50 km/hr.

Source: Google Image

Namma Metro: Phase 2 Network

The Union cabinet has approved the Phase 2 extension of Namma metro on 30th January 2014. This has paved the way for the city to have a metro network covering 114 km.

Phase 2 spans a total length of 72.095 km and will have 61 stations. 13.79 km is underground (including 12 stations), 0.48 km at grade and 57.825 km is elevated. Phase 2 includes the construction of two new lines and extension of two Phase – 1 corridors.

Complete Map of Phase 2 & 2A, Source: Google Image

Phase 2: Line 1 – Green Line [BIEC – Anjanapura], North – South Line

The Southern Green Line will be the extension of Reach 4 from Yelachenahalli to Anjanapura Township along the Kanakpura Road. The extension work began in October 2016 and is expected to be completed by August 2020. It covers a total of 5 stations for a distance of 6.29 kilometers.

Namma Metro Work-in-Progree, Source: Google Image

The Northern Green Line will be extended from Hesaraghatta Cross to Bangalore International Exhibition Center (BIEC) on Tumkur Road. This extension, also known as Reach 3C, covers a distance of 3.77 km and will have a total of 3 stations. Land acquisition issues delayed the construction which finally began in June 2017 and is expected to be completed by March 2023. Once completed, there will be 32 stations on the Green Line – 13 are currently operational.

Phase 2: Line 2 – Purple Line [Whitefield – Kengeri]

The Purple Line currently runs from Mysore Road in the west to Baiyappanahalli in the east. In Phase 2 this line will be extended further east and west.

The Western Purple Line will be extended from Mysore Road to Kengeri (8.81 km) and includes a total of 6 stations. Construction work on this extension of the Purple Line is happening in two parts Reach 2A – from Mysore Road to Pattanagere and Reach 2B – from Pattanagere to Kengeri. It is expected to be completed by December 2020.

The eastern extension of the Purple Line will be from Baiyappanahalli to Whitefield. This 15.5 km elevated stretch which will include 13 stations. The work is split into two packages – Reach 1A from Baiyappanahalli to Visvesvaraya Industrial Area and Reach 1B from Kundalahalli to Whitefield (7.21 km).

For the construction of Reach 1A and Reach 1B, around 270 buildings were demolished. The Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited spent an estimated Rs.849 crore to acquire these properties.

Phase 2: Line 3 – Yellow Line [RV Road – Bommasandra]

The construction of the Yellow Line from R V Road to Bommasandra Line was split into three packages.

  1. The construction of 6.418 km stretch from Bommasandra to Hosa Road station includes five stations i.e Bommasandra, Hebbagodi, Huskur Road, Electronic City-II and Electronic City-I and also includes the construction of the depot entry line to Hebbagodi depot.
  2. The construction of 6.38 km stretch from Hosa Road to HSR Layout includes Hosa Road, Basapura Road, Chikkabegur, Munneshwara Nagar, Oxford College, HSR Layout stations. The estimated cost of these two projects is Rs. 1,750 crore.
  3. For the next 6.34 km, the estimated cost is Rs.797.29 crore. Central Silk Board, BTM Layout, Jayadeva Hospital, Ragigudda, RV Road are the stations included in this.

The Yellow Line construction is expected to compete by March 2023.

Phase 2: Line 4 – Red Line [Nagawara – Gottigere]

A new line will be constructed under Phase 2 which will pass through the Electronic City and will be fully elevated. Gottigere to Nagawara Red Line is the second new line which will cover 21.25 km of length. This line is mostly (13.79 km) underground also has a 6.98 km elevated and 0.48 km at-grade sections. This line connects 18 stations, of which 12 stations are underground and 6 are elevated. The estimated cost of this project. Red Line project split into five packages from Reach 6 – UG – P1 to Reach 6 – UG – P4 and elevated section.

  1. Reach 6 – UG – P1: Dairy Circle – Vellara Junction
  2. Reach 6 – UG – P2: Vellara Junction – Cantonment
  3. Reach 6 – UG – P3: Cantonment – Venkateshpura which includes 3 stations.
  4. Reach 6 – UG – P4: Venkateshpura – Nagawara.
  5. Elevated Section: The construction includes 7.5 km elevated area from Gottigere to Swagath Road which includes five stations and car depot on the 34-acre plot in Kothanur.

Land required for the construction of the Red Line is around 50 hectares. The land acquisition has been completed. A total of 690 trees will be cut to build the line – 438 trees for the elevated section and 252 trees for the underground stretch.

Phase 2A: Line 5 – Blue Line [Silk Board – K.R. Puram (ORR)]

In September 2016, it was announced that a new line of 17 kilometers connecting Silk Board with K.R. Puram would be included in Phase 2 of the project which is categorized as Phase 2A. The line is proposed to have 13 stations and will be called Outer Ring Road Metro (ORR Metro). The estimated cost for this line is Rs.4,202 crore. The ORR Metro will have interchange stations with the extended Purple Line at K.R. Puram.

Finance and Funding

For Phase 2 of Namma Metro, the Karnataka Government approved a budget of Rs.27,000 crore in January 2012. The estimated total cost for Phase II is around Rs.26405 crore. In October 2018, Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara stated that the cost of Phase 2 would be around Rs.32,000 crore (US$4.5 billion).

The expected cost of land acquisition is Rs.5,000 crore. Around Rs.15,000 crore, the cost of the project will be funded by the State and Central Government. The State and Central Governments will bear 30% and 20% of the total project cost of Phase 2 respectively. The balance amount will be obtained through senior term loans. The Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited is permitted to raise through loan up to Rs.9,000 crore. The Asian Development Bank ($250 million), Agence Francaise De Development (AFD) (Rs. 1,600 crore) and European Investment Bank (Rs. 3,700) agreed to sanction loan.

Acquisition of land – Hurdle and Possession:

The Karnataka Industrial Areas Development Board is responsible for acquiring land for Phase II. For the Phase II of the project, a total of 102.02 hectares (252 acres) of land is acquired. Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited spend Rs.5000 crore on land acquisition. Most of the land has been acquired and the work has already been started for metro line(s). Gottigere-Nagawara is slow progress in construction.

In February 2019, acquisition of forest land in Kadugodi – finally, the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited has cleared a major hurdle by acquiring the forest land in Kadugodi. It was the biggest hassle for BMRC Limited.

Environmental loss: To build a network of elevated corridors that will span the length and breadth of the city, a total of 3,281 trees will have to be felled and 22,082 trees pruned.

Impact of Namma Metro on Real Estate Market of Bangalore

Godrej Air at a walkable distance from Garudacharpalya Metro Station, Source: Google Image

As there is an extension of Purple and Green line and also an addition of Yellow Red and Blue line in Phase 2, Whitefield and Outer Ring Road(ORR) will be connected as part of Phase 2 (Whitefield and Electronic City) and Phase 2A (ORR). As per the observation, real estate activities increase around 2 years prior to the completion of a metro line in terms of better connectivity and results in price appreciation. However, a sharp appreciation in the price and the rental value is observed only after the operation of the line starts. The completion of Phase 2 and Phase 2A of Namma Metro will lead to a multi-fold increase in ridership and will result in an increase in rental values.

To Conclude:

Namma Metro, Source: Google Image

The metro has a total length of 72.095 kilometers. Phase 2 of Bangalore Metro will include three more lines which are Red Line, Yellow Line, and Blue Line. These three lines will be connected with 61 more stations. It’s hard to wait for this visionary master plan to come in the operation which will help lakhs of commuters and also it will reduce the dust, noise, pollution, and traffic which is very annoying for the everyday commuters.

Real Estate Trends Of 2018 Shaped By Events of 2017: An Analysis

RERA Act 2016

At the start of 2017, the Indian real estate sector was grappling with the after effects of demonetisation which came out of the blue towards the end of 2016. However, 2017 brought even more change in the form of the roll out of Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016 (RERA) and implementation of Goods and Services Tax (GST). 2017 will be considered as a watershed year in Indian real estate; a year in which the boys of real estate development were separated from the men, and consolidation took place. It will remain the year in which the Indian homebuyer was given his/her due and place in what was seen as a ruthless sector.

While the majority of the notable real estate trends of 2017 were marked by regulation, some were infrastructural. The metros (both tier-1 and tier -2 cities) have seen the implementation of massive infrastructure projects, which will raise the standard of living in these metros, and as a result draw more people and developers to fulfil this demand. Affordable Housing and PMAY has also given broad hope not just to homebuyers in the lower middle class and low income category but also to developers who have been looking to make inroads into this sub-sector but have lacked the right incentives.

2018 is now underway, and as far as real estate is concerned will be dictated by the upheavals and trends of 2017. Let’s review the year gone by and what it holds for 2018.

RERA Act video
The RERA Act of 2016

Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016 (RERA)

It was a long awaited regulation and was expected to be homebuyer-friendly. RERA has introduced many much-anticipated checks and balances to even out the playing field in real estate. Developers have been given space and incentives to adhere to their deadlines and steadily clean up a ‘dirty’ sector. They can now focus on completing under-construction projects and maintain transparency about allocation and usage of funds. Homebuyers on the other hand will have recourse to justice should developers continue to flout the rules.

RERA officials have led the way by ensuring timely approvals and granting registration numbers to projects. Maharashtra has been the standout state in this regard and has set an example for a RERA-fied real estate sector. Most of the other states are struggling to get their act together, however, some like Karnataka and Delhi have finally started issuing RERA approvals. As other state authorities take their cues from these frontrunners, homebuyers can expect timely project deliveries and developers can hope for better housing sector performance in 2018. On the flip side we can also expect to see many more litigations related to RERA in 2018 and for sure these verdicts will bring further clarity in the rules, as pertaining to various states.

Goods and Services Tax (GST)

GST was another long awaited regulation. Meant to replace a bunch of other taxes and streamline the rates on many goods and services across industries, GST shook up the economy. Since its implementation, various iterations were made to different rates. In the real estate sector, under-construction properties are being levied a GST rate of 12% while residential rentals are exempt from GST. Thus, GST brought confusion about application and led to increased prices and delayed possession. This proved to be counterproductive given the opposite effect of RERA. However, some developers took advantage of the situation to push sales of ready-to-move inventory by advertising the attractiveness of such properties sans GST. Moreover, developers are yet to benefit from accruals of input tax credit which can they can in turn, pass on to homebuyers. As this and further iterations happen to various rates in 2018, developers hope the GST rate comes down to stoke homebuyers’ interest in new construction purchase.

How does the GST impact your home buying decision
How does the GST impact your home buying decision (Image credit: Sundayguardianlive.com)

A Cleaner Sector?

Experts as well as critics are unanimous about the winds of change sweeping through the sector. The hope and expectation is that the changes are positive, enabling transparency about capital acquisition and allocation, faster approvals to developers, fewer construction delays and quicker possession for homebuyers. This in turn provides opportunities to developers – big and small – to adopt transparent practices and shed the notorious tag that has dogged the sector for decades. One can say with certainty that trust from customers is something the real estate sector has lacked. This is a big factor in any transaction. With these new regulations, as the grey areas start to fade away, there is hope that developers can begin to earn the trust of homebuyers.

Affordable Housing & PMAY

The Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana was hailed as an enabler and a welcome government housing scheme. Under this scheme the government rolled out plans in rural as well as urban areas to enable more families to access affordable housing. Projects under this scheme picked up steam in 2017 and in the quarter ended September 2017, home sales increased 5% year on year in the top 8 property markets of the country powered by a 24% surge in affordable housing sales. Significant uptick of 11% was seen in the affordable segment with prices less than Rs 25 lakh. This is attributable to the fact that developers are realising the benefit of increasing supply in a category where demand is driven by financial and fiscal benefits under the ‘PMAY Housing for All’ subsidy scheme.

2018 will see further growth in this particular housing market as the government has approved construction of 112,083 more affordable homes under PMAY with an investment of Rs 8,105 crore. This means the total homes sanctioned under PMAY(Urban) has now gone up to 3,052,828. All of this is good news for developers looking to make a mark in this sector as well as for first home buyers looking for quality and affordable homes.

Indian and Japanese PMs at the laying of the foundation stone
Indian and Japanese PMs at the laying of the foundation stone (Source: The Guardian)

Infrastructure Developments

Across the major cities, huge investments were made in upgrading existing infrastructure as well as installing new ones. This includes expansion of metro projects in Delhi, Bengaluru and Mumbai while Hyderabad will see the launch of metro transport. Additional lines connecting distant suburbs will enhance connectivity and improve travel times and provide better commuter experiences. Simultaneously big ticket projects like the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC), Dwarka Expressway (now provided National highway status), India’s first Bullet Train from Mumbai to Ahmedabad, and the new airports in Navi Mumbai and Jewar are aimed at boosting trade, infrastructure and standard of living across the country. Work on most of these will continue in 2018 and some like the Dwarka Expressway will be completed.

Overall, 2017 can be considered a busy year. It brought upheavals and yet signalled major changes and overhauls in the way the industry was operating. There can be opportunities in change and it is up to the major real estate companies to lead the way even as smaller companies are seen to be adapting quickly and eating into market share. For homebuyers this is a wait and watch period to observe how these changes unravel and what benefits it brings. They also need to focus more on doing their own due diligence and research, before making a decision. Public RERA portals provide access to information like never before thus enabling informed decisions. 2018 is definitely a year to watch out for in Indian real estate.

Why Can’t We Have Bullet Trains in India?

India has major infrastructural problems. This truth is too overwhelming to ignore and was brought into sharp focus on September 29 2017 when the stampede on the Elphinstone Road bridge led to 23 people needlessly losing their lives. The blame game is still on and the enquiry report completely sidesteps the fact that the bridge was simply inadequate to support the thousands of commuters who use it daily. Instead the report suggests that travelling with heavy baggage during the peak hours should be discouraged along with vendors carrying large baskets!

In all of India’s major cities such as Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore and Chennai, the current infrastructure is creaking and sagging under the weight of the burgeoning population. In Mumbai, the metro line between Versova and Ghatkopar which was initially considered unnecessary, is already inadequate for the lakhs of commuters using it daily. Various newly inaugurated highways, metro lines, rail rakes and airports in urban centres are quickly facing a similar fate, questioning the urban planning and forecasting numbers that our planners are actually working with.

Shinkansen Bullet Trains
Shinkansen Bullet Trains in Japan have provided impetus to the Japanese economy (Source: Indiatoday.in)

Following the Elphinstone Road bridge tragedy, television debates, newspaper columns and radio chats loudly questioned the lack of responsibility and accountability from the Railways and the incumbent state Government. For years the rail budget included an amount set aside for widening the bridge, but this was simply postponed until tragedy struck. At the same time, these pundits stridently questioned the need for the much publicised bullet trains project connecting Mumbai to Ahmedabad which was inaugurated on September 14th, just a fortnight earlier. When we can barely maintain the infrastructure we have, why should we build a $17 billion High Speed Rail corridor which will benefit only the rich?

Infrastructure is one of the main focus areas of the Global Competitive Survey compiled by the World Economic Forum. The Survey looks at the financial health and risks of countries around the world. Efficient and reliable infrastructure is a major driver of successful economies. USA, UK, Canada, Australia, Japan, Germany among other countries that regularly feature at the top of this survey boast a wealth of connectivity supported by a competent public transport system, and extensive rail, road and air travel networks. Efficient transport systems and infrastructure also contributes to improved standards of living for residents.

India’s first High Speed Rail (HSR) or bullet train project is feted by the government and its supporters as a vital step towards bringing about a paradigm shift in the country’s transport infrastructure. Let’s look at the major criticisms of this much critiqued project.

  • $17 billion (Rs 1.1 lakh crore) is the estimated cost of constructing the 508 km HSR project, this works out to $27.44 million per km.
  • China constructed its HSR at $17-21 million per km, making ours $3.2 billion costlier.
  • India’s budget allocation for education and health has decreased while we allocate money we don’t have for a luxury HSR project
  • USA, Singapore, Japan, China all had GDPs higher than India’s when they launched their HSR projects.
  • Japan is providing a Rs. 88,000 crore loan payable at 0.1% interest over the next 50 years. The government calls this virtually free. Critics point out the fact that the yen has appreciated 64% against the rupee in the last ten years, implying hidden inflated costs.
  • Mumbai to Ahmedabad by air, currently, is Rs. 2500 to 3000. In 2022, the bullet train tickets will cost Rs. 3000 to 5000.
  • The flight time is 1.15 hours. Bullet trains are expected to cut the current rail travel time from 8 hours to 2.10 hours.
  • At a time when Oil prices are expected to remain stable if not reduce further, thus reducing air fares, should the government not focus on enabling more air travel by expanding the number of airports and players?
  • The number of fliers has increased corresponding to a proportionate decrease in train travellers. Where is the economics in introducing a new mode of train transport, even if faster?
  • A spate of train accidents, derailments and related incidents beg for commitment of government funding towards overhauling or boosting existing rail infrastructure. Yet we are spending $17 billion on a brand new bullet train project!

Indian and Japanese PMs at the laying of the foundation stone
Indian and Japanese PMs at the laying of the foundation stone (Source: The Guardian)

This list is definitely not exhaustive and couch critics as well as experts will have more to add in the years leading up to the completion of the project and the first run of the bullet train. Yet, could there possibly be a case for this much-maligned project?

  1. Economic Bridge: The HSR system made the Japanese economy more inclusive and equitable by connecting major industrial and commercial centers such as Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto. The same effect is expected in India when the financial capital Mumbai is connected to the industrial Ahmedabad as well as smaller hubs such as Vapi, Surat and Vadodara.
  2. Reduction in Travel time: The rapid transit route is also expected to improve movement of skill, talent and manpower across this belt. Today someone who lives in Virar or Thane might be inhibited by the distance to take up a job in Ahmedabad or the neighbouring hubs. However, with the bullet train cutting down travel time, the commute almost equals the daily routine of most Mumbaikars taking into consideration traffic and the fact that most spend 2 to 3 hours daily only commuting to workplaces!

    Proposed route and stops for the HSR
    Proposed route and stops for the HSR (Source: The Guardian)
  3. Multi-terrain route: The bullet trains will set off from BKC in Mumbai where the station has been planned to be underground. From BKC to Thane the route will be underground, while from Thane to Virar it will be undersea, emerging on land in Virar and then traverse along an elevated high speed corridor till Ahmedabad. In terms of scope and technology, the bullet train project is a first and will certainly be the nation’s prized mode of transport until the novelty fades.
  4. Employment Boost: India’s first bullet train project in addition to bringing Japanese Shinkansen technology (unmanned trains which have seen zero fatality) to India’s shores will create an estimated 36,000 jobs and have a knock on effect in the areas along the HSR route through industrial and farm growth.

The bullet train project is certainly one of the more ambitious projects the government has taken on and one hopes it works out simply because the loss of resources would be too grave for our currently struggling economy. Alongside there is a need for overhauling existing infrastructure and transport systems. The government has committed a spending budget of $137 billion on upgrading the railway systems. This will also ensure good support to the HSR which cannot function in isolation. Meanwhile, until the first run of the bullet train is flagged off in August 2022, set to coincide with 75th year of India’s Independence, the nation and its many detractors will be in watchful mode.

Vaishnavi Gardenia, Jalahalli West

Vaishnavi Gardenia: Overview

Be it the Peenya Industrial Area, Manyata Tech Park, Kirloskar Tech Park or many of the emerging infrastructural facilities, and the proximity to the Kempegowda International Airport, North Bangalore has a lot going for it, for the career minded. For a young IT professional looking for their first investment, a prospective real-estate investor, or a self employed industrialist, the cheaper land prices, the better traffic conditions, and the surrounding greenery make investing in North Bangalore a good bet. With the recent developments in metro connectivity, many localities, especially Jalahalli have been greatly benefitted as the rest of the city is now merely minutes away.

And right next to the Jalahalli Metro station, we have the project Vaishnavi Gardenia, offering 1BHK, 2 BHK, and 3 BHK premium residences. Vaishnavi builders are a company of repute in Bangalore with numerous commercial and residential projects dotted across the city. Vaishnavi Gardenia hosts 628 apartment units over a sprawling  8 acres of wooded landscapes, with an earnestly specific 358 trees, giving one the feeling of being out in the wild, right in the heart of North Bangalore.

Vaishnavi Gardenia: Project Layout | source: vaishnavigroup.com

Vaishnavi Gardenia: Location and Accessibility

Conveniences just outside Vaishnavi Gardenia. You can see the metro rails in the distance.

Quite easily, the single greatest asset of Vaishnavi Gardenia is that it’s located a stone’s throw from the Jalahalli Metro station. And once you step outside the wooded enclave of the project, you have the street teeming with restaurants, grocery stores, shopping malls and other businesses. Most conveniences are well within reach.

Vaishnavi Gardenia – Accessibility | source: vaishnavigroup.com

The project is located adjacent to the Peenya Industrial Area (< 1 km), with companies like ABB a short walk away. The ideal demographic for this property would be industrialists and professionals who work in the Peenya Area. IT professionals would also find the commute to hubs like Manyata Tech Park (15 kms), Kirloskar Tech Park (11 kms) convenient.

There’s also no dearth of buses plying to and from this area.

Vaishnavi Gardenia: Amenities

A Vaishnavi Gardenia Layout Model showing the Wooded Secret area

In line with their philosophy of providing a close to wildlife experience, is their Wooded Secret, where residents can enjoy walking through the woods or even camping there with tents. They also have a four storey club house equipped with gym, indoor games like billiards, table tennis and badminton. There’s also a jogging track, a basketball court, and a tennis court for the sports enthusiast. And for the golf savvy, the project also provides mini golf greens.

One of the finished Children’s play areas

There’s also 24 hour security, bore well and Cauvery water provision, and full power backup for the convenience of residents.

The projects boasts of over 85% open space.

Vaishnavi Gardenia: Apartment Layout

Vaishnavi Gardenia: 2BHK and 3BHK layout | source:vaishnavigroup.com

The project offers  1 BHK, 2 BHK, and 3 BHK homes. All the apartments are laid out so that they have a view of the landscape gardens. The houses have vitrified tile flooring in the living room, kitchen, passages and the bedrooms and ceramic tile flooring in the bathroom, utility and balcony areas. The apartment variants are listed below.

Variant Area (sq ft) Price
3 BHK 1433-1619 95L – 1.15Cr
2 BHK 1045-1241 74L – 85L
1 BHK 600 43L+

 

Vaishnavi Gardenia: Completion Status

Vaishnavi Gardenia: Completion status

The estimated date for the completion of the project is Dec 2019. Much of the construction is still underway, and the area has been cordoned off.

Conclusion

Vaishnavi Gardenia is located in Jalahalli west, very close to the Peenya Industrial area and would be an ideal investment for anyone employed in the area. The proximity of the Jalahalli metro station makes most of the city very easily accessible from the project, and could be a great residential option for anyone who works anywhere close to the metro lines in Bangalore. The project offers a living experience akin to being out in the woods, and the large number of trees in the project premises make for great sound isolation despite being in a relatively busy part of town.

Mumbai Metro: A city with the most efficient railroads.

A city where the railway line is spread over 465 kilometres, operating 2,342 train services and carrying more than 7.5 million commuters daily, travel should be easy and hassle free right? Wrong. With Mumbai’s population increasing day by day in every term – vehicles, people and real estate, nobody wants to spend hours together stuck in traffic. In 2014, the first Mumbai Metro line ran from Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar and Mumbaikars heaved a sigh of relief. After hearing so much about the Delhi-Kolkata metros, Mumbai had one for itself. Let’s dig a little deeper in the network, construction and the controversies the Mumbai Metro is surrounded by.


Network

The Mumbai Metro is supposed to be built in 3 phases over 15 years covering over 174 kilometres.

In 2014,Line 1 connecting the Western suburbs made her debut. Connecting Ghatkopar from the Central Line to Versova on the Western Line and has a total of 12 stations. This line has the 8th highest passenger density of any metro line in the world. This particular corridor was built at an estimate cost of ₹4,321 crore.

The Line 2 of Mumbai Metro will connect Dahisar on the Western Line to Mankhurdh on the Harbour Line. This particular corridor will be completed in 2 phases, Line 2A- running from Dahisar to D.N Nagar and Line 2B- running from D.N Nagar to Mankhurdh and will have a total of 16 stations. MMRDA has been allotted ₹340 crore to Delhi Metro Rail Corporation who is a consultant on this project. Line 2A will be completed by November 2017 and Line 2B is still in the planning phase.

Line 3 or the Metro 3 as it is referred is going to be Mumbai’s first underground metro line consisting of 27 station. This line will run from SOBO’s Cuffe Parade to SEEPZ, being 33.05 kilometres long. With a bit of its own controversies, this project has been delayed and expected to be complete in 2022 costing ₹23,136 crore.

Line 4 will directly connect Thane to Mumbai by starting from Wadala and ending at Kasarwadavali. This project was recently approved and the Asian Development Bank has shown interest in funding this particular corridor. This line will have great impact on the development of areas around it.

Line 5 is an elevated corridor which will connect Thane to Kalyan, called the Thane-Bhiwandi-Kalyan Metro V. It is estimated to cost ₹8,416 crore and be completed by 2022.

Line 6 will connect the western suburbs to eastern suburbs – Andheri to Kanjurmarg. It will cost ₹6,672 crore and be completed by 2022. This line will be a crossing point with Line 2 at Andheri, with Line 3 at SEEPZ, with Line 4 at Jogeshwari and Kanjurmarg and with Line 7 at JVLR creating a dense jungle of metros.

Line 7 will run from Andheri east to Dahisar east, consist of 17 stations and will cost ₹6,208 crores.

Infrastructure

Reliance Industrial Infrastructure Limited is the chieftain of this entire Mumbai Metro project. Many international metro-vehicle building companies were consulted and wanted to be a part of this project, viz., Kawasaki, Alstom, Siemens and Bombardier, but CSR Nanjing of China was finally selected to deliver the rolling stock for Rs 6 billion. Nanjing completed 16 trains of which 10 are operational even before the lines have been finished. The trains will be capable of carrying over 1,100 passengers in a four-car unit, with each carriage being approximately 2.9 metres (9.5 ft) wide. Contrasting 97% of metros worldwide which run on direct current (DC), the Mumbai Metro runs on alternating current (AC) which is more labour and cost intensive.

Controversies

During the construction of Line 1, 8 accidents were caused due to lack of precautions. This lead to 2 workers being killed and 21 injured. In 2012, the construction of this line came to standstill and was suspended until further notice which was only 20 days. Though the contractor was fined, the project remained under Hindustan Construction Company till the end of it. Another major controversy the Mumbai Metro was a part of was the construction costs scam, the initial estimated cost of Line 1 was ₹2,356 crore but by the end of the project costs were increased by 84% costing ₹4,321 crores. Due to this the rate of interest was reduced but the maturity period of the loans doubled.

This lead to another dysfunction in the system: Controversy over fares. To offset the inflation in construction costs, MMOPL decided to increase the fares. The original idea was to increase the fare by 11% every 3 years but the fares were increased upto 50% than what they were already decided in the very first year. A lot of RTI activists and common people rose up against this demanding to lower the fares. MMRDA has filled a case in the Bombay High Court seeking to be the decision maker for the fare.
A Fare Fixation Committee is appointed by the centre where as MMOPL had already set their mind to increase the fares. The reliability of the project became a concern when in the very first rainy season; leaks were spotted at metro stations. At the time of construction too, accidents were caused when the rains arrived killing and injuring people. This issue was raised in the Legislative Council by Shiv Sena asking to fine Reliance and MMRDA for the inconvenience caused to commuters.

Conclusion

This is a typical case of what can go wrong with an infrastructure project built under the much-talked about public-private sector participation (PPP) system. The problem is not with the system, but the way our politicians in power and officeholders clear these projects. While the government and private companies play the blame game, it is the common man that suffers, hasn’t that been a case for quite some time now?
The government should learn their lesson from the Mumbai Metro fare row and all clearances and resources should be obtained before employing contractors, particularly in PPP projects, to avoid hurdles. There needs to be responsibility when it comes to infra projects. Companies that get away with delaying projects for years together must also stop.

 

You can read more about the Pune Metro here: The Pune Metro – Long delayed public transportation lifeline