Exclusive Interview with Mrs. Ashwini Bhide , Managing Director, Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation

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Smt Ashwini Bhide, an IAS officer from Maharashtra cadre is a post -graduate in English Literature from Pune University. She was selected through Civil Services exam for IAS in 1995 with the honor of standing first among women candidates in the country. She has rich experience of 20 years in IAS cadre by holding key positions such as Chief Executive Officer in Zila Parishad, Addl. Divisional commissioner, Joint Secretary to Governor of Maharashtra, Additional Metropolitan Commissioner in MMRDA and Secretary in School Education and Sports. With rich experience in Urban infrastructure development , she now aptly heads Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation executing JICA funded Mumbai Metro Line-3 (Colaba – Bandra – SEEPZ) project.

Rail Analysis India: Could you please elaborate on the role of MMRC and benefits associated with Mumbai Metro Line III?

Mrs. Ashwini Bhide: Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation is the nodal agency responsible for implementing Mumbai Metro Line III is an essential part of Mumbai Metro Master Plan. The 33.5 km long corridor is India’s longest and cities first fully underground corridor running across Colaba to SEEPZ connecting the presently unconnected parts of the city. Mumbai Metro Line III envisages to improve cities public transport scenario and provide convenient and hassle-free travel experience.

Image Credit: Mumbai Metro

Rail Analysis India: How are you planning to integrate Line III with other metro lines and suburban railways?

Mrs. Ashwini Bhide: Once operational Line III aims to reduce load on suburban railways by 15% and will provide commuters with interchange for suburban railways at Churchgate, Grant Road, Mumbai Central and Mahalakshmi. Additionally, line III will connect to Metro Line I at Marol Naka station and Central Railways at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus station.

Image Credit: Mumbai Metro

Rail Analysis India: How have you dealt with the different challenges and what has been progress so far?

Mrs. Ashwini Bhide: The project is on track and is expected to be complete in time, by December 2021. All the civil works contracts for station works and car depot construction are already awarded and 15-16% of the total work is completed. During the course, the project has faced several challenges on different fronts like land requirement, environmental clearances. On the Resettlement and Rehabilitation front out of 2,800 project affected families 1,800 families have already been rehabilitated following a transparent and completely computerized system. The land requirement for the entire alignment is accomplished. All the essential environmental clearances are in place and the project is in full swing as we are expecting it to be completed in time.

Image Credit: Mumbai Metro

Rail Analysis India: What has been the progress on tunnelling part and by when do you aim to complete the tunnelling activity?

Mrs. Ashwini Bhide: Tunnelling is one of important part of Line III as this project is fully underground and is being done using done using modern technology of Tunnel Boring Machines. Till date we have received 11 tunnel boring machines out of 17 and have been complete more than 500 metres of tunnelling which we aim to complete by 2020.

Image Credit: Mumbai Metro

Rail Analysis India: What are the environmental benefits associate with the project?

Mrs. Ashwini Bhide: With aim to be the Environmental friendly & one of the Lowest Energy consumers in transport sector, Metro Line III is committed to provide Clean, Green & Comfortable transport in Mumbai. As commuters would start to prefer the comforts of metro over other conventional transport options, there would be significant drop in air and noise pollution which are outcomes of burgeoning population in cities such as Mumbai. Once implemented line III would reduce traffic on the corridor by about 35% or by 4.5 lakh vehicles on road per day, thereby saving approx. 2.5 lakhs litres of fuel per day. With a 40% regenerative energy generated during braking for captive use, the project is expected to reduce 1 lakh ton CO2 emissions per annum once commissioned.

Image Credit: Mumbai Metro

Rail Analysis India: What is the expected date of Inaugural run on the Line 3?

Mrs. Ashwini Bhide: The project will be operationalized in two phases:
Phase I: Car Depot to Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport expected to be completed by March 2021
Phase II: Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport to Cuff Parade expected to be completed by December 2021

Image Credit: Mumbai Metro

Image Credit: Mumbai Metro

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