The Navi Mumbai Metro project between CBD Belapur and Khandeshwar is now expected to begin operations only by 2017 after missing the original deadline of 2014. The project deadline is extended as the implementing body, Cidco, has decided to increase the width of the coaches so as to align with the Mumbai Metro. Accordingly, the first phase of the over Rs 2,500 crore 11.1-km corridor from Belapur CBD to Pendhar has missed the deadline of 2014 and will hopefully be launched by 2017 as Cidco has to give time to its rolling stock vendor, Ansaldo to rework the coaches, from the earlier planned width of 2.9 metres to 3.2 metres. According to a senior Cidco official, “We had to make certain changes in the original structural plan.
We have decided to increases the rail car width to 3.2 metres from the original plan of the 2.9 metre keeping in mind that in future the Mumbai Metro, which uses the standard gauge rolling stocks, may be integrated with our metro. This resulted in a delay as we had to rework on our plan.”
On the construction side, 73 per cent of the civil work of the viaduct is completed, while nearly 55-60 per cent work on the 11 stations, proposed on the corridor, is still pending. Besides, 15-20 per cent of the civil work of the metro depot at Taloja is also completed. Cidco is developing the Metro project in three stages, comprising the 11.1-km Belapur-Pendhar section, the 8.35 km Khandeshwar-Taloja section and the 2-km Taloja-Pendhar inter-connection corridor. Cidco has awarded the Rs 1,327.75 crore contract which includes laying of tracks, signalling, telecommunication, automatic fare collection system and rolling stock (coaches), to the Spanish consortium Ansaldo.