Updated: January 2, 2017 5:11:55 am
Projects worth Rs 45,000 crore for suburban railway were inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his visit to Mumbai on December 24. Some of the projects are part of the Mumbai Urban Transport Project (III). The elevated corridors, being termed as the ‘pet projects’ of the Union ministry concerned, are new to Mumbai’s suburban network and are expected to ease crowd off local trains.
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CST-Panvel elevated corridor: The project awaits nod from the NITI Aayog to which a proposal was sent in September 2016. However, the decision to invite a new system of ‘standard gauge’ or tracks to be used for the first time in railways has invited some queries. The cost of the Rs 14,600-crore corridor will be shared by the Railways and the state government. This is important for connectivity between Mumbai and Navi Mumbai, a fast line for the 10 lakh-odd commuters. It is also likely to connect to the proposed Navi Mumbai airport. The frequency of train services is estimated at 4.5-5 minutes. This means at least 14 services per hour will be operated. If all permissions are through, authorities will seek a deadline of 2019 for completion of the project.
Bandra-Virar elevated corridor: The line will be an elevated corridor over the existing railway line between the two projects. The proposed rapid transit corridor worth Rs 19,500 crore will be the result of a public-private partnership, expression of interests for which is yet to be floated. While a nod from the NITI Aayog is still awaited, the corridor is expected to take 30 per cent of the load off existing lines. The Railways intends to fund the project by commercially developing 130,000 square metres of land at eight locations, of which five plots are in Mumbai Central, Bandra, Andheri, Mahalaxmi and Borivli stations. The fresh deadline of this project is 2019.
Virar-Vasai-Diva-Panvel corridor: At 70.14 km, the two-line corridor will be longer than the Churchgate-Virar, CST-Panvel and CST-Kalyan routes. This is a vital rail network pegged at Rs 9,000 crore that would connect all three lines — Western, Central and Harbour. It will also give scope to the government to increase commercial spaces in this belt to reduce congestion. It will be a 50:50 partnership project between the state government and the Railways while there are also chances of local civic bodies and private firms being brought in as stakeholders. Approved by the NITI Aayog, the projects awaits a final approval by the chaired Cabinet Committee of Economic Affairs (CCEA) chaired by the PM. The project has the capacity to create a new urban agglomeration between Virar and Panvel.
The total cost of the projects mentioned below and a few others is Rs 10,085 crore. It is expected to be funded by the state government, the Railways and the World Bank (WB) on a primary basis. As a preliminary review of the same was done by the WB last month, its percentage share of funding is awaited. The first three projects are expected to be completed by 2021.
Airoli-Kalwa elevated corridor: The project is expected to decongest the crowd at Thane station for the existing trans-harbour line. This Rs 428-crore line will thus make Kalwa station an important connecting point with its suburbs. It will also help in connecting people to the existing trans-harbour rail line.
Panvel-Karjat corridor: This Rs 2,618-crore suburban rail network is again important for the growth of Mumbai Metropolitan Region. It will connect Panvel and Karjat, the two ends of main and harbour lines of the Central Railway. It is expected to generate jobs in these extended suburbs, especially with the new airport coming up.
Quadrupling Virar-Dahanu line: At present, there are two rail lines between Virar and Dahanu, used by both suburban and long-distance trains. The primary use of the two additional lines will allow the Railways to separate the suburban and long-distance networks, which will give a dedicated corridor to the passage of express trains, and also aid in the movement of freight trains. At present, nearly 80,000 people use the local trains, while scores travel daily towards Surat and beyond.
47 new rakes: The Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation plans to procure 47 additional rakes. The 12-coach trains will be divided into two vestibules of six coaches each. The cost of each coach is expected to range from Rs 6.5 crore to Rs 10 crore. Whether they will be air-conditioned or not is not confirmed yet but the rakes will be closed-door for sure, according to officials.
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