A decade-old ambitious plan to improve and decongest areas in and around major railway stations in Mumbai is set to be revived.
Arguing that suburban railway commuters are facing a hellish experience exiting out of railway station, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Wednesday directed railway officials to revive the Station Area Traffic Improvement Scheme (SATIS) to revamp the railway station areas in the city.
Aimed at decongesting and streamlining traffic around suburban railway stations, the World Bank-funded plan was conceptualized in the early 2000s but failed to take off due to lack of effective coordination between the railways and civic authorities.
On Wednesday, Fadnavis, who reviewed ongoing and proposed railway projects being taken up the Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation, directed senior railway officials to rejuvenate the plan. “The problem with the implementation of the project was that no one was willing to take the onus. The issues that cropped up between the civic body and railways can easily be sorted out. I have asked MRVC officials to immediately submit a proposal in this regard,” Fadnavis told Newsline.
The CM said that the World Bank had already indicated its willingness to the government for funding the project’s techno-feasibility study. “To improve the overall commuting experience, we need to plan adequate amenities including parking lots, BEST and auto rickshaw stands around the station area,” he added.
Fadnavis said his government was not opposed to allowing vertical development of stations for better planned amenities.
Meanwhile, differences cropped up between the Maharashtra government and the Railways over the funding model for the Rs 14,000-crore Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CSTM) to Panvel elevated fast corridor. While the Railways have proposed the Public Private Partnership (PPP) route for the elevated corridor, Fadnavis said “his government preferred a cash contract (Engineering Procurement Contract) model.”
In a bid to resolve differences over land acquisition between the City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO), a state government undertaking, and the Railways, Fadnavis said he had proposed that CIDCO be permitted to develop its share of land, and railways develop the rest.
While the Central Railways had earlier submitted a detailed project report for the project, the CM appointed a high-level panel for a techno-feasibility of the project.
Besides the proposed project, the CM also asked the railways to finish the work of converting all nine-car rakes to 12-car rakes on Harbour Line.
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