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MRVC booklet shows delayed Rs 60-crore 5th line project as completed

The booklet, distributed at a recent international seminar, says the much-delayed R60-crore project was ‘completed in March 2012’

On November 5, the Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation (MRVC) distributed a booklet, which informed about its ongoing and accomplished projects, at the international seminar on Mega City: Urban Mobility Options held at YB Chavan Centre, Nariman Point.

A narrow path between the slums on the left and a mosque on the right blocks the tracks of the fifth line. Pic/Shashank Rao
A narrow path between the slums on the left and a mosque on the right blocks the tracks of the fifth line. Pic/Shashank Rao

Surprisingly, this official booklet published in October 2013 mentioned the much-delayed R60-crore project of a fifth line between Mahim and Santacruz meant for long-distance trains starting from Mumbai Central as ‘completed in March 2012’.

The first project under MUTP Phase-I mentions the fifth line between Mahim and Santacruz
The first project under MUTP Phase-I mentions the fifth line between Mahim and Santacruz

Western Railways (WR) authorities admit it is incomplete. This suggests that MRVC, which is a joint venture between the state government and Indian Railways, has not revisited its files nor checked the status of its ongoing projects.

Whose project is it
According to the booklet, the fifth line between Mahim and Santacruz is part of the Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP) phase-I, which has been funded by state government, railways and World Bank.

The MUTP phase 1 project costs Rs 4,500 crore and includes procurement of 101 EMU rakes, car shed at Virar, power conversion from 1500-volt DC to 25000-volt AC on Western Railway, third and fourth lines between Borivli and Virar and fifth and sixth lines between Kurla and Thane which have already been finished.

However, when the correspondent asked Rakesh Saxena, chairman and managing director, MRVC, about the ‘completed’ fifth line between Mahim and Santacruz as mentioned in the booklet, he said, “MUTP phase-I was completed in March 2012. This project (5th line on Mahim-Santacruz) is not part of MUTP-I and you have got your facts wrong.” When sunday mid-day told him that MRVC’s own booklet shows this project as complete, he demanded to see it.

While the work of connecting the tracks on the fifth line between Mahim and Santacruz was completed earlier this year, inspection by the Commissioner of Railways Safety (CRS) is still pending. The other glitch is a small three-metre-wide pathway adjacent to a mosque and cemetery, which bisects the 5th line at Bandra East next to the Bandra Terminus.

“If this pathway is not closed, all the money invested will go waste. We cannot start the services until it is shut as it would lead to trespassing,” said a senior WR official. This crossing is the closest way to the structure. “We are in talks with the members of the mosque and cemetery,” said Sharat Chandrayan, chief PRO, WR.

The line also traverses through the coach centre of WR where engines are parked. This, the railway authorities claim, will be easily cleared. There are slums next to the tracks, too. Once the fifth line becomes operational, the WR will have to clear the area of garbage and shanties. Chetan Bakshi, Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS), said, “I can inspect the line only after the Railways submits any application.”

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