Feb 4, 2017

Railway budget: With token funds, work may begin on elevated, suburban corridors in Mumbai

The estimated cost of the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST)-Panvel and the Bandra-Virar elevated corridors is Rs 15,000 crore each, and for the suburban corridor it is Rs 10,000 crore.
Suburban trains on the Western Railway have been affected due to a technical problem on Dadar Station public crowd at Bandra Station on Monday. Express Photo by Ganesh Tendulkar
A token amount of Rs 10 lakh has been allocated for each of the three ambitious projects of the Mumbai suburban network in this year’s Budget. The projects are estimated to cost Rs 30,000 crore. Sources said the Rs 10 lakh earmarked for the projects have brought them one step closer to receiving the Union Rail Ministry’s sanction, and initial phases of the projects can be commenced. The projects are the Virar-Vasai-Panvel suburban corridor and the elevated corridors.

A senior railway said that the allocation in the pink book released on Friday was only to ensure that the projects, which were inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to Mumbai last year, are acknowledged by the Union Rail Ministry.

“The Rs 10 lakh allotment to each of the three projects was only to guarantee an acknowledgement of the same by the Union Rail Ministry in the Budget. Without it, we would have had to wait for next year’s Budget. As each of the projects is at different stages of sanction till now, the allotted share may only come once the complete approval by the Cabinet is received,” said a senior Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation (MRVC) official.

Pink book contains the division-wise budget allotment, including allocation from the Railway Budget to the Central (CR) and Western Railway (WR).

The estimated cost of the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST)-Panvel and the Bandra-Virar elevated corridors is Rs 15,000 crore each, and for the suburban corridor it is Rs 10,000 crore.

The CST-Panvel corridor is awaiting approval from the NITI Aayog while the Virar-Panvel suburban corridor project has to be cleared by the Union Cabinet. While the project costs are going to be shared equally by the Maharashtra government and the railways, the Bandra-Virar corridor would be developed through a public-private partnership. For the projects listed under the Mumbai Urban Transport Project Phase 3, at least Rs 414 crore have been earmarked by the railways.

This will partially fund the Airoli-Kalwa elevated corridor, Panvel-Karjat corridor, quadrupling of Virar-Dahanu line and 47 new rakes for the suburban section. “These projects could begin once they receive sanction. Initial phases of the projects can be commenced due to the allotment by the railways,” said an MRVC official. Large sections of tracks between CST-Kalyan, Thane-Vashi and beyond Kalyan have been certified for renewals.

While traffic facility works which include operation maintenance will receive funding of Rs 148 crore, Rs 33 crore for passenger amenities has been earmarked compared. There is no funding for a railway station on the Mumbai suburban network to make stations disabled-friendly.

“The Budget calls for constructing more foot over-bridges at stations and increasing the height of almost 145 platforms on both CR and WR,” said a railway official. There is also an allocation of Rs 20 lakh towards digitising ticket reservation through machines and mobile phones to promote cashless transactions. Rs 4.5 crore have been earmarked for the track section between Neral and Matheran out of the total allotment of Rs 12.5 crore by the Railway Ministry for building safety measures. - Indian Express