Suspend tender for Khar subway flyover, say residents | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
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Suspend tender for Khar subway flyover, say residents

Mar 11, 2024 07:54 AM IST

Residents of Santacruz (east) demand suspension of a controversial tender for connecting Khar to Bandra, urging BMC to revert to the original flyover plan.

Mumbai: Residents of Santacruz (east) gathered in their locality on Sunday, demanding suspension of a controversial tender for connecting Khar west with Bandra terminus, Santacruz (east) and the western express highway (WEH) in three phases. They urged chief minister Eknath Shinde and Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) commissioner IS Chahal to revert to the earlier plan linking the western end of Khar subway directly with the western express highway via an elevated road, which is contingent upon BMC acquiring Airforce Defence Land currently encroached by the Golibar slum settlement. Residents also alleged that the design of the first two phases of the project was faulty, and they were neither consulted nor informed about construction activity in their area that would disrupt their lives for at least 2-3 years.

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“We are proposing that the flyover should go from Khar subway to WEH, as was originally planned,” said Hemal Mehta, president, Santacruz East Residents’ Association, who participated in Sunday’s protest.

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As per the current plan for which the BMC has floated a tender and called for bids, the elevated road from the western end of Khar subway to WEH comprises the third phase. The first two phases involve linking Khar west with Santacruz (east) and Bandra terminus via elevated roads that pass through crowded residential areas. The estimated cost of the project is 2,400 crore including goods and services tax, and it has a deadline of 42 months. The work order is likely to be issued after expiry of the model code of conduct for the ensuing Lok Sabha elections.

Residents voiced their concerns about the design of the first two phases, saying the flyovers would lead to further congestion on the narrow roads below and block the view of buildings on either side of these roads.

“The first phase will connect Khar subway (west) with Santacruz (east), passing over the entire stretch of road number 7 before turning towards road numbers 6 and 10 and culminating at road number 11. All these roads are very narrow and a flyover over them isn’t feasible,” said Mehta, who lives in Jai Gujarat building on road number 7.

“They will take 2-3 years to complete the project. Do they expect kids in our area to climb the bridge with their heavy school bags and go to Santacruz west to take an auto all this while? The 6th road is also full of greenery, so trees will have to be hacked too,” Mehta stated. Moreover, if any of the buildings along these roads are redeveloped, they would be parallel to the flyover, the view completely obstructed, she added.

Advocate Trivankumar Karnani, founder of Mumbai North Central District Forum, too alleged that the current plan was not feasible. “It isn’t going to be efficacious for decongestion,” he stated. “BMC should ideally go back to the original plan where the flyover was supposed to go to WEH over the Golibar slum.”

Though such a flyover is part of the third phase in the current plan, it is contingent upon the BMC acquiring Airforce Defence Land, said a civic official from BMC’s bridges department. “If we get access to that land, an elevated bridge will be constructed and it will be a wider road,” he said.

The land, however, has been encroached upon by the Golibar slum settlement. “Golibar slum has over 1,000 hutments which are illegal but are used as votebank. The BMC is shying away from relocating them but displacing residents of buildings and disrupting our lives,” alleged Mehta. “As it is, we face a lot of problems due to waterlogging in Khar subway,” she said.

While the residents have shared their concerns with CM Shinde and municipal commissioner Chahal, a BMC official said they should put pressure on the central government to hand over the defence land to BMC.

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