THE BJP-led state government will sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the railways concerning major railway projects expected to improve suburban commute to a great extent. The announcement of the MoU will be done during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Mumbai on Saturday.
The MoU will call for a 50:50 partnership between the state government and the Railways for Virar-Vasai Road-Panvel suburban corridor (Rs 11,000 crore), elevated corridor between Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST)-Panvel (Rs.14,500 crore) and the Bandra -Virar elevated corridor (Rs.19,500 crores). The partnership will not only call for a cost-sharing between the two governments concerning projects but also call for better involvement for faster completion of the projects.
“This is the first time that such an initiative is being taken wherein state government is signing an MoU with the railways concerning suburban railway projects. Through such a treaty, the state government manages to express being interested in involvement and faster completion of the projects,” said an expert concerned with infrastructure development.
However, railway officials said an MoU of this nature only called for division of work portfolio between the employees of the state and the railways . It also makes each individual organisation responsible for their part without having to wait for the approval of another party.
“Land acquisition and removal of encroachments have remained the major hindrances for any major infrastructure or railway project. We also have to wait till due work is carried by concerned state government official which delays project and escalates it cost. This understanding will likely resolve that conflict,” said a senior railway official.
“Better cooperation can be sought between the stakeholders when such an MoU is sought. It has also called for a joint venture by which special purpose vehicles can be designed concerning each project so that faster execution can be sought. The priority of this will only remain to ensure better completion of work, “ said a Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation (MRVC) official.
The PM will also lay the foundation of three major projects of MUTP III — Virar-Dahanu Road quadrupling, Airoli-Kalwa elevated link and new Panvel-Karjat suburban corridor — on Saturday.
The total cost of all the projects to be announced on Saturday for development of suburban railway projects in Mumbai is Rs 45,000 crore.
47 closed-door rakes by next year
The railways will come up with 47 closed-door rakes for the suburban section. Officials said the vestibule rakes costing Rs 11,000 crore would be ready by next year, which would ensure more services and trips.
“We have not yet decided which wing of the Railways will run the rakes or whether these will be air-conditioned or not. They will be fitted with closed doors to prevent passengers from falling off running trains when they are crowded,” said a senior Western Railway official.
An allotment of almost Rs 30.6 crore was done in last year’s Railway Budget to have rakes with automatic closed-door system. A senior official, who did not wish to be named, said the order for new rakes was likely to be given to Bombardier. Western Railway (WR) already runs a few Bombardier rakes. Three coaches of one rake on WR and coaches of ten rakes on Central Railway are being retrofitted with an automatic door closing system.