Budget 2017: Forget gravy train, officials don't even know what Mumbai got

Sops lost in the merging of Union and railway budgets; Railway officials say plans will be known only in a few days, though MUTP-3 and elevated corridors cleared

Illustration/Uday Mohite
Illustration/Uday Mohite

What slice of the sops pie did Mumbai's railway sector get? Officials have little clue. Railway officials said they don't know the outlay set aside for Mumbai.

All that Central Railway and Western Railway authorities know is that the outlay provided to the state is 408 per cent higher than what it got in the last five years.

What's known, though, is that the Rs 11,440-crore Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP)-3, and the two elevated rails of Bandra-Virar and CST-Panvel have been cleared. None of these, however, was announced in the budget.

No 'pink book'
Hours after each Railway Budget's presentation, the Indian Railways usually uploads what has been dubbed the 'pink book'. It contains details of all projects and the funds allocated for them. It also lists new rail lines, electric works and other technical inputs for railways. The merging of the Union and railway budgets has resulted in a change of this practice.

Although Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said yesterday that modes of transport like rail, road, air and waterways are lifelines for people, "at the end of the day, there was little information on what has been provided," said a senior railway official. "We will find out about projects and funds only in a few days."

On the cards
The foundation stone of MUTP-3 was laid by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in December 2016. The project envisions expansion of the suburban railway corridor. New corridors will be opened between Panvel and Karjat (28 km), and Airoli and Kalwa (3 km), and the Virar-Dahanu (63 km) section quadrupled. Besides 47 new 12-car rakes — most likely air-conditioned ones — will be brought for the suburban network.

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