While Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu’s announcement of R11,441 crore worth of projects for the city brought joy to Mumbaikars, the state government and railways are not seeing eye to eye over which project to implement first. Disagreements emerged at the very first meeting between state officials and railway authorities.
While Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation is expected to procure 500 new suburban coaches under MUTP-III, railway officials want these to be air-conditioned coaches. File pic for representation
Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation (MRVC) is coordinating with the state government and railways for these projects, which are under Mumbai Urban Transport Project III (MUTP-III). Sources said that the railways want to start off by doubling the existing lines on the Virar-Borivli stretch and lay the Virar-Vasai-Diva-Panvel corridor for suburban trains.
The additional lines also include extension of the Harbour line all the way to Borivli, on which work has reached up to Goregaon. Currently, one arm of Harbour line ends at Andheri. However, the state government came to the meeting with different ideas. Officials said the government is interested in doubling the Panvel-Karjat stretch as well as the Virar-Dahanu patch.
“The Vasai-Diva-Panvel line will not only intersect all three corridors, but also touch vital junction stations (Vasai, Diva) on existing lines. However, the Panvel-Karjat line will have a completely new alignment,” said a railway official, justifying the push for their project. The state is expected to contribute Rs 1,280 crore of the total Rs 4,174 crore needed for all of the aforementioned projects.
However, railway authorities have asked the MRVC to procure air-conditioned coaches of local trains, instead of the regular ones under MUTP-III. MRVC is expected to procure around 500 coaches albeit non-AC in the next five years, at a total cost of Rs 2,800 crore.
Railway officials, explaining their demand for AC locals, claim that the AC coaches will be used for another 30 years before completing their codal life, so one might as well bring in air-conditioned ones. The MRVC demurred this request, since the AC coaches are not part of MUTP-III.
“All projects under MUTP-III will be implemented simultaneously. If the railways want any new project, they should write to us formally. No change can be made now in MUTP-III,” said an MRVC official, on condition of anonymity. Further meetings will clear the haze over which project finally sees the light of day.
Rs 2,024 crore
Cost of doubling the Panvel-Karjat line