Modi Inaugurates Big Bang Infrastructure Projects Worth Over Rs 1 Lakh Crore For Maximum CityPrime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurates one of the projects. (Prime Minister’s Twitter Feed)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday (24 December) inaugurated a slew of infrastructure projects and the mega Shivaji memorial (Shiv Smarak) that will be built on an artificial island. Together the projects represent a more than Rs 1 lakh crore infusion to upgrade and build new infrastructure across the length and breadth of Mumbai. The inaugurations have been timed for the Mumbai local body polls that are set to take place soon. Here’s a look at some of the major projects and how they will help change the face of Mumbai.

Mumbai Trans Harbour Link

Mumbai, by virtue of being an island, has several bridges connecting it to the mainland. Among all of these, the Airoli Bridge near Mulund, and the Thane Creek Bridge near Vashi are the only ones that connect it to Navi Mumbai and Pune. While a new bridge has been under consideration between these two existing bridges, there is one more bridge that will change the topography of the area forever. The picture below gives you a good sense of the importance of this project and what it does to Mumbai’s topography.

Mumbai’s trans harbour link
Mumbai’s trans harbour link

The Mumbai Trans Harbour Link (MTHL) is a planned 22km bridge that connects Sewri near the Mumbai Port Trust and CBD Belapur in Navi Mumbai. When completed, this will be the longest open-sea bridge in the country, and will trigger a significant lifestyle shift in the city. This bridge will make the southern nodes of Navi Mumbai like Belapur, Kharghar and Panvel more accessible to South Mumbai, and will also help traffic from South Mumbai reach Pune faster. While environmental challenges are aplenty, the government has assured that it won’t impact the migratory habitat of Flamingos on the island’s eastern shores. The sea link will include a six-lane highway along with crash barriers and edge strips.

The project, however, had been stuck due its large size. The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) had been unable to issue work orders because nobody was willing to take up such a large project. After three failed attempts, the fourth call seems to have got some takers for the project after MMRDA split up the project into multiple packages.

Mumbai Metro – Line II and Line IV

Line II of the Mumbai Metro, originally planned from Charkop to Mankhurd via Bandra was proposed to be given under a Build-Operate-Transfer model, similar to Line I, with a Reliance Infra-led consortium winning the bid. The agreement was later on scrapped after the Congress-led government of Maharashtra failed to resolve issues relating to land for depots, environmental clearance, rehabilitation of affected people, etc. The line was later split into two independent sections and extended till Dahisar by the current government, of which one segment is under construction. The entire 40 km length of this line would be underground. Yesterday’s (24 December) inauguration was for a 23-km stretch that would go from Mankhurd to D N Nagar.

Mumbai Metro – Line IV: This 33-km elevated track would go from Wadala to Thane and would be built at a cost of Rs 10,986 crore. This project connects the Thane area to city of Mumbai areas.

Mumbai Urban Transport Project Phase-III

The Mumbai Urban Transport Project, an umbrella project that brings massive infrastructure upgrades, saw its third phase being inaugurated. The costs are pegged at Rs 52,000 crore. This phase involves adding new suburban trains to provide over 300 new suburban services, upgrading the stations at Thane and a new 28-km corridor between Panvel, Karjat and Khopoli.

Elevated Rail Corridors

There was also an exchange of memorandum of understanding between the Indian Railways and the Maharashtra government. These are for two elevated corridors. The first will ply between Churchgate to Virar and will be built at a cost of Rs 20,000 crore. The second one to be built at a cost of Rs 15,000 crore will ply between Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus and Panvel.

Apart from the above projects, the Pune Metro project was also inaugurated. PM Modi also attacked the Congress – National Congress Party (NCP) combine for having delayed the Pune metro project inordinately. The Congress-NCP combine was in power for 15 years (from 1999 to 2014) in Maharashtra before the current Bharatiya Janata Party government.

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