Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu on Thursday announced a collaboration between the Centre and the Maharashtra government for several projects, including elevated corridors between Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) and Panvel and Churchgate and Virar in the city.

Suresh PrabhuRailway Minister Suresh Prabhu along with Mumbai Mayor Snehal Ambekar at the foundation stone laying of new foot over bridge at Currey Road station, Central Railway in Mumbai. Pic/Datta Kumbhar

Prabhu, speaking to reporters at the secretariat along with Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, said Maharashtra will become the first state to work jointly with the Railways in this way.

The Railway Ministry and the state Government would form a Special Purpose Vehicle on 50:50 partnership basis for this. "It has been decided to speed up all the required procedures between both governments and the project work should start by August 15 for fast elevated corridors between CST-Panvel, Bandra and Virar, and the installation of Communication Based Train Control (CBTC) between CST and Panvel," Prabhu said.

Corridor between Churchgate and Bandra would come in the second phase.

A joint venture named 'Maharashtra Railway Infrastructure Development Company' will also be formed to complete nine projects worth Rs 23,000 crore in the state in four years. "These include Ahmednagar-Beed-Parli-Vaijnath, Wardha-Nanded (via Yavatmal-Pusad), Manmad-Indore, Gadchandur-Adilabad, Pune-Nashik, Kolhapur-Vaibhavwadi and Baramati-Lonand railway lines and Wadsa-Desaiganj-Aarmori-Gadchiroli-Nagpur-Nagbhir guage conversion," he said.

Railway authorities have been asked to install wi-fi internet at 15 railway stations in Mumbai at the earliest, the Railway Minister said. Fadnavis said soon there will be an integration of ticketing system in Mumbai for the (suburban) railway, (municipal) BEST buses and shared taxis.

He also announced redevelopment of CST as a state-of-the art monument consisting of a grand statue of King Shivaji and a replica of seven forts. "CST and Churchgate stations (both located in south Mumbai) will also be integrated by building a direct pathway underground," Fadnavis said.