The fifth and sixth railway line between Thane and Diva that will segregate express trains and local services on the Central Railway (CR) is likely to miss its September deadline and be ready in 2020. Since the project started in 2008, the estimated cost has escalated nearly four times from Rs 130 crore to Rs 500 crore.
In 2008, the Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation (MRVC) had started working on the fifth and sixth line between Thane and Diva. The project was planned under the Mumbai Urban Transport Project-2 (MUTP-2) in which the 9.9-km railway line was supposed to be built between Thane and Diva railway stations.
Eleven years on, the work remains incomplete. A senior MRVC officer said, “There were so many obstacles in the project and we had to change the alignment as the lines were passing through a tunnel. Besides this, most of the time was spent in removing 400 to 450 illegal structures. Rehabilitation of project affected families also took a lot of time. We also faced political interference in the the land acquisition issue. Now, everything is solved and work is on the fast track.”
MRVC MD R S Khurana told The Indian Express that almost all the civil work on the fifth and sixth line has been completed. Work on the track is underway and is likely to be completed in the next three months. He said that by the end of this year, electrification — in which the track and overhead wires will be connected to Thane and Kalwa yards — will be completed.
Central Railway Yatri Sangh president Subhash Gupta said, “When work on the line was started, it was a great move but the delay led to the waste of hundreds of crores of public money. The government should speed up the project and make a rule for completing projects on time.”
A senior CR officer said, “The fifth and sixth line is supposed to run between Lokmanya Tilak Terminus to Thane and Diva to Kalyan. Once the line is operational, the segregation of express trains and local trains will help CR add at least 100 local services on the main line, which will give relief to lakhs of commuters. It will also increase punctuality of local services beyond the Thane railway station.”