Ministry cites lack of interest by state government for the project’s demise; asks WR to stop all project-related work it had begun or was about to commence
Seven years after it first proposed the ambitious Oval Maidan-Virar elevated railway corridor, the Union ministry of railways has shelved the project, bringing disappointment for lakhs of Mumbaikars looking forward to travelling in air-conditioned locals.
An aerial view of Oval Maidan. Pic/Atul Kamble
The project is said to have met its demise due to the ongoing disagreement between the railways and state government over its implementation. Earlier this month, Railway Board in Delhi asked Western Railway (WR) officials to stop all kinds of work they have commenced or were going to on the R21,000-crore elevated rail corridor.
If constructed, the corridor would have doubled the carrying capacity on the 63-km-long route between Oval Maidan and Virar. “The Oval Maidan-Virar elevated corridor has gone cold due to lack of interest by the state government,” said Subodh Jain, member (engineering) of the Railway Board.
The rail ministry reportedly clarified that until the government shows interest in the project, there was no need to carry out any work, be it re-surveying of the corridor, or studying passenger traffic or the project’s feasibility. The state had suggested the railways to build a corridor on the Virar-Bandra stretch, which the railways says is an unviable option.
Sources said that since the Rs 8,500-crore Metro-3 line on the Colaba-Bandra-Seepz route more or less coincides with the route of the elevated corridor, the state is contemplating whether to execute the Oval Maidan-Virar corridor or not.
Number of people who would use the Virar-Bandra corridor, as per a WR survey