In the making for 12 years, Navi Mumbai Metro set to be operational soon
The 11.1-kilometre Navi Mumbai Metro line from Belapur to Pendhar with 11 stations that has been under construction since 2011 is set to be commissioned and put into operational use in the next few months.
CIDCO, the nodal agency for the project, will soon obtain the Commission of Railway Safety (CMRS) certificate for the Belapur-Kharghar stretch, following which it can begin operations on the line. The Kharghar-Pendhar stretch already received CMRS certification in October 2021.
The CIDCO has now appointed MahaMetro, which will take the responsibility for the operations of Navi Mumbai Metro Line 1.
According to officials, CIDCO had called tenders inviting government agencies to do the construction of Metro, including operations and maintenance. The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) expressed willingness to do only the engineering work and therefore, MahaMetro was roped in.
The MahaMetro was given the authority to hire engineering experts and take care of O&M by themselves following which, for the next 10 years, the contract has been signed for approximately Rs 500 crore. CIDCO will pay annually Rs 50 crore as maintenance fees and in lieu, MahaMetro will do the operations and collections of Navi Mumbai Metro Line 1, said the official.
The project is one of the most delayed infrastructure projects in Mumbai Metropolitan Region with its bhoomipujan being conducted in May 2011 by then chief minister Prithviraj Chavan. The government had said then that the Metro will be operational in three years.
Officials said that the project was stalled because of non-availability of experts and contractors. The work, however, picked up in 2017 after CIDCO roped-in well-known companies.
The Navi Mumbai Line 1 between Belapur and Pendhar comprising 11 metro stations — Belapur, Sector-7 Belapur, Science Park, Utsav Chowk, Sector 11 Kharghar, Sector 14 Kharghar, Central Park, Pethapada, Sector 34 Kharghar, Panchnand and Pendhar Terminal — has a depot for maintenance at Taloja and two traction sub-stations at Panchanand and Kharghar. CIDCO plans to run services at an interval of 15 minutes during peak time.
The other three remaining lines of Metro 2, 3 and 4 work will be taken up after line 1 becomes operational. According to the official, a Neo Metro is planned that is more cost-efficient since the expected ridership in Metro in Navi Mumbai during peak hours is only 8,000, unlike the Mumbai Metro that has over a lakh ridership.
The Neo Metro is a trolley bus system with overhead electric traction and rubber tyres. It is a cost-efficient transport system with reduced system requirements as compared to a conventional Metro rail system. CIDCO aims to complete the Neo Metro in the next two years.
The Neo Metro will cost Rs 2,000 crore whereas the conventional metro would have cost Rs 9,600 crore. The official added, “The detailed project reports and Rs 1,000-crore credit line are ready. Soon tenders will be called and contractors will be appointed.”