Thursday, 8 January 2015

The railway ministry and the state government on Thursday had a major brainstorming session, with railways' side led by minister Suresh Prabhu and the state's by chief minister Devendra Fadnavis.
Prabhu, speaking to the press after the 90-minute meeting, said Fadnavis had agreed in principle to 16-17 points brought forward by him. dna gives a lowdown on what the meeting entailed and what ideas were thrown up for discussion.

Staggered morning rush hour office timings
Prabhu said Fadnavis has agreed in principle to stagger the office timings in Mumbai to reduce burden on local trains during peak hours. The staggered timings would also result in energy consumption, which is maximum between 8am and 11am and 7pm and 10pm, Prabhu added.
In fact, the state had recently issued a circular that allowed government staffers to reach Mantralaya an hour late so that they could avoid the morning-hour rush.
dna, in its January 1 edition, had highlighted the issue, reporting how Western Railway statistics showed that crowding in trains at rush hour had decreased, though it means nothing for the average commuter.

Coordination committee and SPVs
The railway minister also said Fadnavis has agreed for a standing committee of all the authorities concerned for integrated transport solutions for the city, as there are multiple agencies involved in decision-making — BMC, police department, RTO and others. Prabhu said he has written a letter to all chief ministers to establish special purpose vehicles for railway-related projects in their respective states. He said the SPVs can give priority to projects as per their state's priorities and that they would be entrusted with the implementation part of the projects going on in their states. He added that it can also result in completion of projects in a decentralised manner.

MUTP phase III gets nod
Informing that he has already given his nod to MUTP III, Prabhu informed that Fadnavis has agreed to give state government's sanction for MUTP III. The phase will see new corridors — Virar-Panvel, a connector between Airoli and Kalwa, the second line between Panvel-Karjat — and also make it possible to run suburban trains, as well as lay the groundwork for inter-modal integration of transport around suburban stations.

The road and rail grid
During the meeting, one of the concepts Prabhu and Fadnavis discussed was the creation of road and rail networks in the elevated corridor set up in order to save time as well as money. "It is like having a two-lane road corridor each along the CST-Panvel, Churchgate-Virar elevated railway projects, and a rail corridor along the proposed coastal road between Borivli and Nariman Point. It will give Mumbai six new rail lines and six arterial road lanes," said an official.

Other decisions
Railway minister Suresh Prabhu said he has sought an integrated waste disposal system, to be set up by the railways and civic body. He added a special task force within the railway ministry would be set up for ensuring adequate service for the Kumbh Mela in Nashik. He said he has discussed with defence minister Manohar Parrikar the need to set up a special institution for railway-related projects for defence purpose. He added that chief minister Devendra Fadnavis has suggested the same thing for rail projects in Naxal-infested areas of Maharashtra.

Source: Daily News & Analysis


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