DELAY in completion of projects listed under the Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP) 2B has failed to decongest the railways or make travel more comfortable, according to a recent report released by the World Bank.
The report, which reviews the progress of the MUTP, analyses the effect of the delayed completion of projects on the railway network against the target set by the bank that has partially funded projects under MUTP 1 and 2A.
The report says the desired outcome for commuter relief estimated till December 2016 could not be achieved due to delay in completion of projects under MUTP 2B. For example, it says ‘vehicle run per kilometre per day’ by the end of last year was 5,65,260 km as against the set target of 6,15,400 km. A delay in receiving 14 more trains out of the 72 allotted under MUTP 2A and completion of other projects are cited as the reasons.
“This is due to the delay in completion of projects under MUTP 2B such as the fifth and sixth line between Thane and Diva, sixth line between BCT (Mumbai Central) and Borivli, fifth and sixth line between CST (Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus) and Kurla, extension of the Harbour line between BCT and Borivli, fifth and sixth line between CST and Kurla, and extension of the Harbour line between Andheri and Goregaon, which would enable separation of long-distance trains from suburban trains, thereby increasing the frequency and vehicle-km of suburban trains,” the report says.
The report also points to railways’ inefficiency in easing overcrowding in trains.
Each 12-car train still saw the presence of an additional 1,257 passengers as opposed to reducing the number to 4,000 passengers by the end of last year, the report says.
“While travel demand has increased by 10 per cent since the start of the project, several projects outside MUTP 2A were assumed to be completed by the end of MUTP 2A such as the 135-km Metro line and MUTP 2B, which did not realise.”
“Non-completion of these projects has put unexpected pressure on the existing suburban system. Therefore, instead of overcrowding in trains decreasing, crowding has further increased…,” it says.
“A major cause of the delay in implementation of various projects is passing of the buck between railways and state government authorities. A separate public transport infrastructure committee must be set in place to supervise the progress of the projects and ensure speedy implementation,” said Subhash Gupta, railway activist.The report hints at congestion in the system and inability to include more trains in peak hours.