Union Budget 2018: Mumbai Railways get Rs 51,000 crore boost
Mumbai's railway network sees massive gains with 150km additional tracks being promised; elevated corridor project takes largest share with Rs 40,000 crore allocation, MUTP III gets Rs 11,000 crore
The MUTP 3 project, which includes a fast corridor from CSMT to Panvel, will ease commuter traffic on the route. File pics
As expected, Mumbai received massive gains in the Rs 1.48 lakh crore-Railway Budget 2018 with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today morning allocating Rs 51,000 crore for Mumbai alone.
While Jaitley announced escalators at all stations that have footfalls beyond 25,000 in the city, Mumbai's railway network is expected to receive 150km of additional tracks under the much-hyped Mumbai Urban Transport Project III at the cost of R11,000 crore. Another R40,000 crore has been kept aside for elevated corridors.
In a rather ambitious announcement, Jaitley also promised Wi-Fi and CCTVs at all stations, extending these facilities onboard trains too. Jaitley also spoke of plans to boost top 10 heritage sites in the country with a holistic plan to encourage tourism. Apart from this, Jaitley highlighted that new world-class train sets are being manufactured and that electrification is being taken up on priority. As part of the plan, 12,000 wagons, 5,160 coaches and 700 locomotives are being procured. The finance minister also announced redevelopment of 600 stations across the country.
Reacting to the budget, Jitendra Gupta of Mumbai Transport Forum said, "The allocations for Mumbai are good, but we have to see how fast the projects will move. It is always important to begin and finish the projects on the ground, otherwise these allocations won't mean anything."
However, not everyone seemed impressed with the announcements. "While there have been a host of ideas proposed in the Railway Budget, there is no new announcement so far. These ideas were also mentioned in last year's Budget," said Subhash Gupta, former member of National Railway Users Consultative Committee said.
Meanwhile, Mumbai's commuters were hopeful that city stations would be part of the Railways' redevelopment plan. "Some stations are in dire need of upgrade as infrastructure there is in poor shape. If escalators are being promised at all stations that have footfalls more than 25,000, every station in the city should be getting one."
Railway officials are hopeful of getting a clearer picture of the allocations once the detailed Budget document is out later in the day.
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