'Third Mumbai being planned in MMR': Dr Sanjay Mukherjee, MMRDA

The new smart city will comprise more than 100 villages in Raigad district


Interview/ Dr Sanjay Mukherjee, metropolitan commissioner, MMRDA

Q The government recently announced plans for a new city where the Atal Setu lands. Could you elaborate on that?

A The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) envisages a new city [third Mumbai] at the landing of the Atal Setu, comprising more than 100 villages in Raigad district. Spread over 323sqkm, it is planned as an environment-friendly, greenfield smart city, with regional-level amenities, with mixed-use and integrated residential areas for job creation and economic growth of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR). The new city will adopt best global practices, keeping in mind the impact of climate change.

Q How do you plan to raise funds?

A The method of funding will be publicised at an appropriate time.

Q What major projects are planned for the MMR?

A The MMRDA is pursuing numerous projects to escalate connectivity in and around Mumbai. Some of these projects are progressing at a rigorous pace, while several others are in the planning phase. A few prestigious ones are the Thane-Borivali twin-tube tunnel, Motagaon-Mankoli Creek bridge, Kalwa-Kharegaon link road, Thane coastal road, Airoli-Katai Naka freeway and the underground road tunnel between Orange Gate and Marine Drive.

These projects were conceived with a deeper understanding of the connectivity-related complications, witnessed across the MMR. Also, the Maha Mumbai Metro is striding ahead with the planned extension covering 337km. The Metro lines are carefully designed to provide an efficient and sustainable mode of transportation for the residents of Greater Mumbai, Thane and so on. Environmental sustainability is central to our focus.

Q Could you please elaborate on the twin tunnel project?

A The MMRDA has proposed the Thane-Borivali twin-tube tunnel to provide a long-lasting solution to the troubles faced in connectivity between Thane and Borivali. The travel from Borivali to Thane and vice versa results in a detour of 23km via Ghodbunder Road, while the other available option via the Jogeshwari-Vikhroli link road increases the distance to about 38km. These long-distance travels involve one and a half hours of commute, which can extend further as per the dynamics of traffic.

The proposed twin-tube tunnel road will be 11.8km long, with a 10.25km tunnel road beneath the Sanjay Gandhi National Park. Each one of the two tunnel roads will have an outer diameter of 13.05m and will constitute two lanes, with an additional dedicated lane for emergencies. This project will improve the connectivity between Thane and Borivali, resulting in a substantial reduction in travel duration and fuel consumption. Also, this unique endeavour will turn out to be the longest tunnel road in Maharashtra, at an estimated cost of about Rs16,600 crore.