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Setback to Mumbai's elevated rail corridor project

Mumbaikars' wait for for the Oval Maidan-Virar elevated rail corridor just got longer with the authorities reworking the project.

This was discussed at a high level meeting held in Delhi between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and senior officials from Indian Railways.

While RITES has already done the traffic study of the 60-km long Churchgate-Virar elevated corridor, the request for quotation (RFQ) for the Rs 26,000 crore project was slated to be closed on Novemeber 29 after third extension. There are a total of eight major players, including Reliance Infrastructure, Gammon, L&T, ILFS and GMR, which have shown interest in the project. 

The bone of contention was the proposed phase-III of Mumbai Metro line which is partially having the same alignment. MiD DAY on October 28 had mentioned in the story 'Elevated Rail Corridor to make way for Metro' about this possible problem which has been troubling the future course of Elevated Rail corridor.

"It was agreed that a fresh traffic study would be conducted taking into account the traffic capacity being created by the new Mumbai Metro line, which is partially on the same alignment. The modalities on moving ahead with the project would also be finalised soon after that," said a railway official.

Since a new Mumbai Metro line is also being planned on the same alignment, the state government seems to be not keen on the project and accordingly sought a fresh study of the traffic pattern. "It was agreed that a fresh traffic study would be conducted taking into account the traffic capacity being created by the new Mumbai Metro line which is partially on the same alignment. The modalities on moving ahead with the project would also be finalised soon after that," said a statement issued by the PMO after the review meeting.

While the railways are fighting for the Elevated Rail Corridor, the state government is holding ground against the Rs 26,000 crore Colaba-Seepz third Metro rail corridors. The Indian Railway authorities are blaming the state government for the delay in signing the state support agreement (SSA) mandatory before taking forward the 63-km long Oval Maidan-Virar Elevated Rail corridor.

This SSA was a way to demarcate the responsibilities of the state government and railways at the time of construction; which however has remained in the back burner since May 2012.

Know the corridor

The Elevated Rail Corridor will be constructed on the Western line, starting from Oval Maidan and going all the way to Virar. It will pass through Churchgate, Charni Road, Mumbai Central, Lower Parel, Elphinstone Road, Dadar, Mahim Junction, Bandra, Bandra Terminus, Santacruz, Andheri, Jogeshwari, Goregaon, Malad, Kandivli, Borivli, Dahisar, Bhayandar, Naigaon, Vasai Road and Nalasopara. The corridor is supposed to open to the public in 2019.

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