IN THE run-up to budget 2018-19, Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal and Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis discussed major railway projects to improve suburban connectivity in the city on Friday. They gave an in-principle approval to projects under Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP) III worth Rs 50,000 crore, senior railway officials said.
As many as 13 projects under MUTP III were discussed at Sahyadri government guest house at a high level meeting. Most projects cater to increasing the number of air conditioned trains, and improving track lines and the condition of suburban railway stations.
“The status of each project was reviewed by the ministers. A major part of the discussion aimed at discussing ways of financing the project. The Chief Minister has agreed that the state will pay 50 per cent of the cost. As the state government will pay Rs 25,000 crore, railways will look after the rest,” chief spokesperson, MRVC, said.
Major projects under MUTP III include an elevated corridor between Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) and Panvel worth Rs 12,331 crore, extension of harbor line from Goregaon station to Borivali station costing Rs 846 crore, improving railway stations including Lower Parel, Chembur, Goregaon, Bhandup, Wadala, Dombivali and Ghatkopar for Rs 946 crore. The railways also plan to install a Communication Based Train Control (CBTC) technology on the harbour line which will increase the frequency of train services.
“Each of the above projects aims at increasing capacity handling of railways. As the existing railway system is already congested, we need more tracks and better infrastructure to offer better ridership to commuters. Each of the above projects does that. We are hopeful the projects would receive a mention in the coming budget,” a senior railway official said.
During his last official visit to Mumbai, Goyal had told officials to look at reducing cost of certain railway projects, which include the elevated corridors and inclusion of new AC rakes.
“We revised the cost of the projects which, according to the minister, was too high. For example, we reduced the estimated cost of the elevated corridor between CSMT-Panvel from Rs 15,000 crore to Rs 12,331 crore by fine-tuning certain details,” said an official.
As many as 210 more AC rakes are planned to be procured in this phase. Officials have been told to re-work the cost. “We have been asked to reduce total cost of the AC EMU rake project. We plan to do this by asking Integral Coach Factory, Chennai to manufacture the rakes. While a global tender would be floated for the technology, it could be given to a single party so that overall cost reduces,” a senior official said.
The elevated corridor between Virar-Bandra railway stations would be replaced with additional track lines between Borivali and Goregaon stations and Kalyan-Badlapur and Kalyan-Asangaon stations, according to an official.