World Bank team will not review crucial rail projects?

The seven-member World Bank team that’s here to review if all assignments under the second phase of Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP) are on track doesn’t have two vital ventures as part of its itinerary. These are Central Railway (CR) adding fifth and sixth lines on the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST)-Kurla section, and Western Railway (WR) developing a sixth line on the Mumbai Central-Borivli stretch.

Slow going: Sources in Central Railway said work on the fifth and sixth lines from CST (above) to Kurla is underway since 2010 and is likely to be completed in another two years.  File pic

As per the to-do list (MiD DAY has a copy) of the World Bank team, on June 11 it held a meeting with Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation (MRVC) officials, received a presentation from JJ School of Architecture on ways to curb trespassing accidents along tracks and participated in other programmes. In the city till June 15, the squad will meet officials from Government of Maharashtra and MMRDA, discuss utilisation of loans, and make field visits to Oshiwara and Chinchpokli. An unofficial discourse may be the saving grace. “We will be discussing the present status of fifth and sixth lines on CST-Kurla and sixth line on Mumbai Central-Borivli stretch with railway authorities,” said Atul Agarwal, who’s leading this World Bank team.

Not keeping track?
These two projects may appear inconsiderable as they are only about addition of tracks, but in effect they will bear all long-distance trains plying on these two channels, thus giving ample space for running more local trains. The two ventures were sanctioned in the year 2008-09 as part of MUTP-2A. However, both railway networks appear to be cooling their heals as the projects are progressing at a snail’s pace. Sources in Central Railway (CR) said that the CST-Kurla 5th-6th lines are underway since 2010. “We expect to add the two lines in another two years or so,” said a CR official on condition of anonymity. The cost of this CST-Kurla line is an enormous Rs 659 crore.

It’s worth remembering that CR took 15 years to complete the Thane-Kurla 5th-6th lines, which were finally opened to services last year and connect Kurla LTT. The CST-Kurla line will join this line, thus allowing long-distance trains starting from CST to run independently without obstructing the movement of fast local trains.

Need for speed
WR too is seemingly going down the same road. Sources say they are demolishing a few railway buildings at Santacruz-Khar belt that will be compensated by a new building at Dadar. “We are carrying out work near Bandra terminus from where this line would pass,” said a WR official on condition of anonymity. Presently, there is a fifth line right up to Mumbai Central that is at times used by engines, and some long-distance trains. Once the sixth line becomes functional, movement of long-distance trains will get segregated. The cost of laying the sixth line and other necessary infrastructure is Rs 522 crore. MUTP is a project formulated by Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) with the assistance of World Bank.

5,300 cr
The estimated expenditure on second phase of MUTP

What to expect
Important projects under MUTP-2:
>> 5th-6th CST-Kurla lines: Rs 659 crore
>> 5th-6th Thane-Diva lines: Rs 133 crore
>> 6th line Mumbai Central-Borivli: Rs 522 crore
>> Extension of Harbour line from Andheri to Goregaon: Rs 103 crore
>> 1,500-volt DC to 25,000-volt AC conversion on CST-Kalyan: Rs 293 crore
>> Procuring 72 EMUs (local trains): Rs 2,930 crore 

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