Monday, 12 January 2015

The Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation, staring at an empty order-book after some of its big projects entered the business-end of things this year, have got a new lease of life. Last week, railway minister Suresh Prabhu announced that after his meeting with chief minister Devendra Fadnavis phase 3 of the Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP) was now on. According to officials, the projects hold a lot of promise for the harried Mumbaikar. dna gives a lowdown on some of the major works:

The Virar-Vasai-Diva-Panvel line:
Estimated to cost Rs 6,120 crores as per 2011 prices, the work to create a whole new 70-odd kilometre suburban line would now cost anything between Rs 8,000-10,000 crore. "It has the potential to create a new urban set-up in the Bhiwandi, Kharbao, Kalamboli, Diva, Panvel area. If work begins now, it could be a reality over the next decade," said a senior railway official.
The financing of the project has to be sorted out though. While the railways wants the state government to get the local civic bodies along the rail route to levy taxes, the state wants it to be done the traditional way. However, with chartered accountant-banker Suresh Prabhu as railway minister, city-based officials believe a solution on the finance methodology might be in sight.

Panvel-Karjat line:
It could be a game-changer for the people living in the vicinity of Karjat and more importantly for the railways in terms of money saved. The route, currently a single line used by trains like the Pune-Ernakulam and Pune-Bhusawal Express, many of them halting at Chikhale just to replenish their diesel stocks, can cut the distance between CST and Karjat from 100 kilometres to just 77 kilometres.
The line currently starts from Panvel, moves to Chikhale, then to Mohape, onwards to Chowk and then Karjat. It is used by trains like the Pune-Ernakulam and Pune-Bhusawal Express, many of them halting at Chikhale just to replenish their diesel stocks. The challenges of making it suburban-ready includes tough terrain and the construction of tunnels.
According to officials, it is now or never for the project. While a Comprehensive Transport Study commissioned by the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) in 2011 put the cost of the project at Rs638 crore, the state government in July 2014 pegged it at Rs 1,473 crore, a rise of 130% in the last one decade.

Airoli-Kalwa connector:
The Airoli-Kalwa connector, an elevated rail line about 4km in length, will allow more people to reach Navi Mumbai by by-passing the already-congested Thane station. "Currently, people have to come to Thane and then take the Thane-Vashi route — also called transharbour — to get to Navi Mumbai. The longer option is to go to Kurla and then opt for the conventional harbour line all the way to Panvel," said the official.
The upside for the project is that it does not require much land acquisition as the elevated bridge will run on railway land parcel available as part of the Kalwa car shed. Moreover, officials said the cost of the project would be in the range of Rs 300-400 crore, something that the cash-strapped railways could manage.

Source: DNA India


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