Mumbai underground: Metro III, a trailer
wear the protective gear, mainly a white helmet, a neon green and grey jacket which identifies one as part of the team and the boots were the most important. I found myself stepping into the boots of a man! Once ready and hydrated, we had to carry an identity card which we had to swap with their token, in case we were left behind. We were first told of all the dos and don’ts, especially regarding any emergency.
One needs to just hone the basic observational skills and be alert to protect oneself from the approaching worker train and falling rubble. Pretty much like one cares for oneself on the roads above. An engineer accompanied us and we began our descent to the tunnel. Suddenly found ourselves going under girders and grilles, leaving familiar spots behind. Our cheer was cut short as the engineer reminded us of the number of steps we had to climb back up. He quipped it was the secret of leanness, as makes at least four trips regularly.
Once we reached below, we saw the tracks with the signals and a huge tunnel of the Metro-3 line from ColabaBandra-SEEPZ. For the most part, this track is underground, especially in South Mumbai. It made us aware of all the space that was underground and how developers hadn’t yet grabbed it. We walked halfway of the one-and-ahalf kilometres of this tunnel. This portion is ready as far as Kalbadevi and the passage till Girgaum is clear. We also got a feel of the metro as the working train plied back and forth.
Along the tracks we noticed there were intercoms and fire extinguishers every few metres. There is also first aid at the working site and in an emergency a way to evacuate the affected person was explained. A huge yellow pipe went down and along the tunnel. This is the pipe that feeds fresh air from above for the workers below.
As we returned, we saw a second tunnel, where work has been stalled due to the Bombay High Court case.
By this time, we were encrusted with dirt and were profusely sweating and one’s eyes fell on the water trickling down the rocks like the tiny ones seen on the Western Ghats. The engineer told us, we were literally inside a well. Fascinating view of the city, to say the least.