Mumbai to get two elevated roads to decongest local trains

Mumbai: In a bid to decongest the suburban railways in Mumbai, the railway ministry has proposed two major elevated roads from Churchgate to Virar and CST to Panvel, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu announced here Thursday.

Prabhu said he has discussed the issue with Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis who was receptive and "liked" the proposal.

The proposed six-lane elevated roads running along the railway tracks would reduce the road traffic congestion considerably and generate a lot of revenue.

This, along with the proposed elevated railway corridors on the same sections, is on the priority list of the railway ministry, he said.

"We are losing a lot of money on the suburban railways, but anytime you want to add something new, the viability factor comes in," Prabhu said.

The suburban trains, which ferry around eight million commuters daily from far-flung areas in Mumbai and the three adjoining districts of Thane, Palghar and Raigad, are considered the lifeline of the city.

A minor disruption - like the snapping of a pantograph at Diva in Thane last week - results in dislocation of the entire network and causes huge inconvenience to office-goers and students.

Prabhu said there was a need for an integrated transport authority, for providing integrated transport solutions for the city, as multiple agencies were currently involved in in it, to which Fadnavis has agreed.

The Maharashtra government has also sanctioned the Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP-3), which has been cleared by Prabhu, and work is expected to start soon.

Prabhu suggested that Fadnavis explore the possibility of introducing "staggered" duty timings for Mumbai office-goers to reduce the peak hour rush in the local trains.

"I have requested to consider staggered office timings which can automatically reduce the load on the system. When implemented, it would be applicable to all, in the government and private sectors. The chief minister has agreed to consider this favourably," he said.

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