CST-Panvel elevated rail project picking up steam

With the city bursting at the seams in an effort to keep up with the growing number of vehicles on the roads and the population jostling for space to get around, the era of elevated rail corridors is fast becoming a crucial saviour of sorts. Railway officials claim that the initial plans for the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST)-Panvel elevated corridor are ready and they will be approaching the state government shortly to sort out issues pertaining to the proposed Rs 13,000-crore project.

Elevated corridor
Elevated corridor


Graphic/Amit Bandre

Issues like land acquisition, clearances from other government agencies, rehabilitation of project-affected people and identifying depots for maintaining these trains along the proposed 60-kilometre (approx.) route have cropped up, and the Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation (MRVC) and Urban Development Department will be meeting to discuss and resolve the matters in the next two days.

“There are some problem areas along this route wherein we would require the state government’s intervention in procuring land that belongs to other agencies. We are facing this problem between CST and Wadala,” said a railway official on condition of anonymity.

Problem stretch
The source added that under the present circumstances, there are problems regarding construction of the proposed elevated corridor at P D’Mello Road up to Reay Road station, coordinating with Mumbai Port Trust authorities for sparing land at a few locations till Wadala, connecting it with the proposed airport at Navi Mumbai and finally sorting out issues at Panvel for creating a maintenance depot and car shed. There are several illegal shanties and slums on the east side of CST.

According to the latest report by RITES on this rail corridor, there is sufficient space available on the east side near CST to create a terminal for the proposed elevated corridor. However, sources claim that issues in laying the alignment are bound to crop up. Apart from this, identification of a depot for maintenance of trains was also an issue.

Conquering obstacles
“Initially, we had identified land at Kharghar for the car shed and depot, but the plan was shot down due to environmental issues. We are now looking at a 30-hectare plot of land at Panvel for the depot, which will be around two kilometres away from the station,” said an MRVC official on condition of anonymity.

The MRVC has asked Central Railway to plan their proposed Panvel terminus after making appropriate arrangements for the depot.
The Urban Development Department is expected to ensure all clearances and permissions are provided in time.

“We have officially given the report on CST-Panvel Fast Corridor to the state government for scrutiny. It will also be studied by the railway ministry,” said Rakesh Saxena, managing director, MRVC.

On September 17, MRVC officials met Manu Kumar Srivastava, who is the principal secretary (II), Urban Development Department. Officials said that they have discussed the issues and have asked the state government to intervene and help them in sorting out the problems.

Project details
>> Will carry 21,000 passengers during peak hours, each way by 2019 and 39,000 by 2031
>> Private developer will bring in 60 per cent funds while the state government and railway ministry will contribute 10 per cent each, and a viability gap funding of 20 per cent
>> Project expected to be executed in four to five years and authorities aim to get all clearances by 2014 and complete the project by 2018
>> Proposed project cost: Rs 13,000 crore
>> Elevated corridor will be 60-kilometre (approx)
>> All clearances expected by 2014
>> Project expected to be completed by 2018 

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