Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu Sunday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to establish a holding company to fast-track all railway projects across Maharashtra. The projects include the ambitious Rs 11,441-crore Mumbai Urban Transport Project-III.
The expansion of railway network in Maharashtra, complete with elevated corridors and new projects to tackle Mumbai floods, is being planned with the help of the railway ministry. Taking the Centre-state partnership ahead with the launch of MUTP-III and the Jaigarh-Digni rail project.
Fadnavis said, “An integrated railway network complete with infrastructure and transport including to end users and single window ticket for multiple mode of travel was discussed with the railway minister.”
Prabhu also gave his consent for elevated railway tracks. “I reckon local trains are lifeline with 75 lakh commuters and we are committed towards its development,” he said.
Fadnavis said orders had been issued to ensure the MUTP-III was completed in a time-bound manner. “I promise Rs 10,000 crore apart from the Central’s share to fast-track the projects that would serve the public better in Mumbai and the rest of Maharashtra,” he said.
The MUTP-III entails quadrupling of Virar-Dahanu road section under the Western Railway division, doubling of the Panvel-Karjat section under Central Railway, new suburban corridor link between Airoli and Kalwa (elevated), procurement of rolling stock and station redevelopments.
Meanwhile, a concession agreement was also signed between the Government of Maharashtra and the Indian Railways for a 35-km line for the Jaigad-Digani rail connectivity. The project will cost Rs 775 crore, with Konkan Railway paying Rs 50 crore (26 per cent), Maharashtra Maritime Board Rs 21 crore (11 per cent) and Jaigad Port Ltd Rs 123 crore (63 per cent). Fadnavis said, “Our plan is to integrate entire transport system and an end-to-end solution for Mumbai passengers. If public transport is to be made popular, the passengers would have to be provided ease of travelling. Why not a single ticket and connectivity where individual could hop from BEST to local train to metros or taxis with smooth connectivity?” Expecting a massive footfall in Nashik next month for the Kumbh Mela, Fadnavis said, “We are putting a model with railways for better crowd dispersal and management. A train every 20 minutes along with a proper information centre would be there.”
In a related development, Shiv Sena (MP) Arvind Sawant met Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu and urged him to consider a special compartment with toilet for women in every local train. Sawant said, “Local trains in Mumbai don’t have toilet facilities. But women have to travel a long way.” Sawant believes the facility is not impossible to have.