By Vinita Deshmukh
Rains are welcome. When they lash Mumbai, the rest of Maharashtra sees a ray of hope.
However, on Wednesday, when it poured in Mumbai, the newly inaugurated Mumbai Metro which has set a world record of carrying 70 lakh passengers in the first three weeks and runs on a 11.4-km metro line linking the suburb of Versova in the west to Ghatkopar in the east, received rains inside one of the coaches. Thanks to mobile phones, its video clip and photograph went viral in the social media.
And then there were tweets
The technical issue about leakage in metro was reported at 11.30 in morning.It has already been replaced and will be put to service tomorrowâ€” Mumbai Metro (@MumMetro) July 2, 2014
#MumbaiMetro trains are of world class quality designed by ALSTOM; It's quality tested by Indian Railways. Our trains are not faulty. (1/2)â€” Mumbai Metro (@MumMetro) July 2, 2014
(2/2) Technical issue witnessed today is not uncommon. It already has been rectified and the train is ready to serve tomorrow morning.â€” Mumbai Metro (@MumMetro) July 2, 2014
The Mumbai Metro which has reduced travel time between Versova and Ghatkopar by half an hour carries 75 lakh passengers every three weeks and has become a runaway hit! However, it was disappointing to note that, while there is ample shelter from the rains for the 95 escalators, in the event of rains, commuters have been and would continue to be left in the lurch.
As per a recent news report in DNA, ``the 95 escalators along the corridor are protected from rain and dust through 'Ingress Protection 54' technology that protects them against liquids, materials, dust and mechanical impacts. However, commuters getting on the platform or in the concourse level will get wet during the rains. Similarly, commuters moving from Andheri station to the skywalk are exposed to the elements, and have to run for cover if they do not want to get wet while it rains.â€™â€™
Over and above, Wednesdayâ€™s rain leakage in the metro proved that you are not necessarily protected inside the metro too. Mumbai Metro had received flak on the inaugural day when it developed a technical snag and was stalled on the tracks for half an hour. However, Mumbaikars have forgiven this error and have accepted it with a lot of warmth and love. Mumbai Metro is also in controversy for the scheduled increase in fare hike by Reliance Infra, which has constructed and is now running the metro.
BJP leader of Mumbai Kirit Somayya has demanded CAG audit for this metro because he says that the the project cost had risen to 50% (Rs2,356 crore but has shot up to Rs4,321 crore) since Reliance was awarded the contract in 2006 and now it is trying to extract it out of citizens by increasing the fare, to nearly three-fold, he says.
Earlier, residents of Mumbai led by Monica Matani had sought legal intervention for violation of several safety norms during construction of the Versova-Ghatkopar metro line. According to them, it is mandatory to have six metres open space around adjoining the metro net work to facilitate emergency services like the Fire Brigade to reach quickly. However, they say the fire brigade gave an NOC, flouting this rule, despite the fact that high tension wires are over the metro line and fire threat cannot be ruled out. They have also alleged that the BMC and the MMRDA â€“ public bodies in public-private-partnership with Reliance ,too have been casual about quality of construction. Lets cross our fingers that the Mumbai Metro will always be a pleasant experience for the Mumbaikars but let us not forget that violation of safety norms had led to the closure of the Delhi Airport metro for over six months in 2012. Hope, Mumbai Metro makers have not played dangerously with taxpayersâ€™ money.