Certain that demand for houses will rise if the elevated rail corridor project is extended further north beyond Virar, a lobby of builders is clamouring for the ambitious rail project to be constructed up to Boisar or Dahanu.
Highly placed sources from the railways said that a group of builders approached them asking to not only expedite the proposed Rs 22,500 crore project, but also extend it further. “The builders want the elevated rail corridor to be constructed right up to Boisar or Dahanu. This, according to them, would boost commercial and residential real estate along the extended route, which at present is fairly subdued,” said a senior railway official, on condition of anonymity.
The official also added that the idea of the elevated railway line with air-conditioned trains would make an excellent sales pitch for builders looking to sell buyers their dream homes. The current ongoing property rates in the Virar-Boisar stretch vary between Rs 2,000 to 2,500 per sq feet.
“In the first phase, we would like to concentrate on the proposed Churchgate-Virar elevated corridor. Depending on the demand there and response, we can plan an extension further north, but as of now it’s a far-fetched idea,” said another railway official.
Meanwhile, the Builders Association of India said that that there has been no such official representation made by them. “If any local builders have approached the railways or state government, then they should also justify its need even in the future. Presently, there is no scarcity of land on that route so the railways can procure land for future,” said Anand Gupta, Honorary Treasurer, Builders Association of India.
The railways are already planning quadrupling of tracks on the Virar-Dahanu route. This means that two more rail tracks will be added to the existing two tracks on this stretch. The work has been proposed under phase-3 of Mumbai Urban Transport Project. The 3rd and 4th line will then help the railways to bifurcate the suburban corridor with the long distance trains plying north.
Earlier this month, the Indian Railways also made changes in the Churchgate-Virar elevated rail corridor, cutting it short to 60 km from the proposed 63 km. Moreover, even the number of stations has been reduced. As per the earlier proposal, only 12.7 per cent of the route would have gone underground, however, as per the revised plans 34.25 per cent would now be below the ground. The railways will also be partly funding this project wherein the railways will pitch in with 10 per cent of total project cost or Rs 3,000 crore or whichever is lower, which will be financed by the Indian Railway Finance Corporation (IRFC).
Rs 21,500 cr
Total cost of the ambitious Churchgate-Virar elevated corridor project
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