Rs 175 crore rail project put on hold due to delayed rehabilitation of people
The project is expected to benefit lakhs of people travelling on the CST-Panvel and CST-Andheri Harbour line
The Wadala-Kurla rail line, a PMO (Prime Minister’s Office) monitored project costing Rs 175 crore, has been delayed as vegetable and fish vendors who reside close to the tracks await rehabilitation.
The project is expected to speed up services by separating the goods line, coming from the Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT), from the suburban rail line. The project is also expected to benefit lakhs of people travelling on the CST-Panvel and CST-Andheri Harbour line every day.
Harbour line on the left and the port line, covered with grass, on the right
According to Central Railways (CR) officials, 1,680 Project-Affected People (PAP) will require rehabilitation before commencing work on the project. A majority of them reside in illegal shanties and hutments and there are also a number of vegetable, fruit and juice shops in the area. The PAP are being rehabilitated by Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), on behalf of MbPT.
The goods line, coming from MbPT, is almost eight tracks wide and covered with grass. The line joins the suburban Harbour line (which goes to both Panvel and Andheri) between Wadala and Kurla before deviating towards the Central line, and proceeding towards Kalyan.
“We have been promised that rehabilitation will be completed by December this year,” said an official from MbPT. Most of those who require rehabilitation reside near Raoli junction, after Wadala, where they have encroached on 425 sqm of land owned by the MbPT. Slum dwellers also reside on the two hectares of property owned by the Railways along the stretch of land required for the project. Until now around 90 PAP have been rehabilitated since May this year.
As per the plan, once the PAP are removed from their illegal residences, the CR authorities will lay rail lines worth Rs 107 crore, which will ensure that the goods trains will not affect the functioning of the Harbour line. Currently, goods trains carrying coal — which are as long as 50 coaches — take the Harbour route that joins at Wadala, due to which local trains remain stranded.
“We will begin work as soon as the rehabilitation process is complete. Construction will take at least two years,” said MK Gupta, chief administrative officer (Construction), CR. Sources said that authorities have started planning the construction of walls along the vacated plots to prevent further encroachment. This corridor is likely to be an elevated one, for which work will be carried out at stations between Wadala and Kurla. Stations such as Guru Teg Bahadur Nagar are also expected to undergo major changes.