Union Budget 2018: Rs 51,000 crore boost to Mumbai's suburban railway network

Updated: Feb 02, 2018, 12:35 IST | Rajendra B. Aklekar and Ranjeet Jadhav

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley allocates a sizeable chunk to 'lifeline of the city', for setting up new rail corridors, more AC locals and doubling capacity of existing lines

Illustration/Uday MohiteIllustration/Uday Mohite

Budget 2018Rs 51,000 crore - that's the amount allocated for city's suburban railway in the Union Budget that was presented yesterday. The money will go into setting up new rail corridors, running more AC local trains and doubling the capacity of existing lines. mid-day had reported on Tuesday that a sum of Rs 50,000 crore was likely to be allocated to Mumbai.

Suburban section
In the Budget speech yesterday, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said Mumbai's transport system, "the lifeline of the city", was being expanded to add 90 km of double line tracks at a cost of over Rs 11,000 crore and 150 km of additional suburban network at a cost of over Rs 40,000 crore, including elevated corridors on some sections. Officials said the "pink book", which has details of the exact break-up of funds, would be out during the weekend.

Illustration/Uday Mohite
Illustration/Uday Mohite

Railway officials, however, said Rs 11,000 crore had most probably been allocated for the Mumbai Urban Transport Project III, which includes quadrupling of Virar-Dahanu Road on Western Railway, a new suburban corridor between Panvel and Karjat on Central Railway (double line), a new suburban corridor between Airoli and Kalwa (elevated) on CR, 565 AC coaches, and bridges and subways for trespass control on mid-section on CR and WR at 22 locations.

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Officials added that allocation of Rs 40,000 crore was for Mumbai Urban Transport Project IIIA, which includes CSMT-Panvel elevated corridor, new AC local trains, new suburban rail corridor connecting 60-km long Panvel-Virar route, expanding rail lines with third line on the Kalyan-Asangaon route, and third and fourth lines on the Kalyan-Badlapur route, which will significantly augment the carrying capacity to the far ends of Mumbai.

Metro rail
The Budget has also made a total provision of Rs 15,000 crore for implementation of Metro projects across the country, and the all-important underground corridor of Colaba-Bandra-Seepz is expected to get a share. Government sources told mid-day that provision for Metro projects across India will help several in Maharashtra, including the Nagpur Metro, and also aid works in Pune.

Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC) MD Ashwini Bhide, in a press statement, said, "MMRC had requested Rs 5,300 crore for the Metro III project. We hope to get it from the total allocated." The amount earmarked for Metro III will be used for civil work of underground packages and to commence track work, power supply and OHE systems, rolling stock, signalling and telecommunication, and other system works in Mumbai.

Toll take
The system of paying cash at toll plazas is being replaced with fast tags and other electronic modes to make road travel seamless. Number of fast tags has gone up from about 60,000 in December 2016 to over 10 lakh now. Since December 2017, all class M and N vehicles are being sold only with fast tags.

Government also plans to come up with a policy to introduce a pay-as-you-use system. Jaitley also said the government has "scaled new heights" in development of road infrastructure and is confident of completing national highways over 9,000 km this year.

Ayes and nays

Dr PC Sehgal, former MD of MRVC
'It's good that money has been allocated for major projects in Mumbai, which is the need of the hour. However, the key is execution. What Mumbai needs is fast implementation. If projects get delayed, the cost will keep escalating and they will no longer serve their purpose.'

Ashok Goyal, managing committee member, BGTA
'The budget is disappointing for the logistics industry. We were expecting petroleum products would be brought under GST and there would be uniformity in diesel prices. Currently, the difference is as high as Rs 6/litre from one state to another. Also, toll collection system hasn't been abolished.'

Bal Malkit Singh, chairman-core committee, AIMTC
'As usual, the FM and his bosses are indifferent to the transport sector. Three crucial expectations from this Budget have been dashed - no announcement to bring diesel under GST; allocation for infrastructure development, ie national highways, but no thought to transport sector; and the over 20 crore people associated with the transport sector, the public, find no relief, just increasing cost of living. There was much talk of fast tags and e-tolling, but unless the toll barriers are removed, seamless movement of vehicles won't be possible.'

Sudhir Rao, MD, India, Bombardier Transportation
'We are pleased with the efforts to improve rail transport in Mumbai. Bombardier has been supporting Mumbai's rail ecosystem since 2002. We have installed and maintained the Traffic Management System on CR and WR. Currently, trains equipped with our propulsion are operating successfully and moving around 3.5 million passengers daily. These projects further boost our long-term relationship in this important ecosystem, and Bombardier intends to continue to contribute to the success of Mumbai by delivering more of our high-performance Metro vehicles, monorails and signalling systems.'

Rs 15,000 cr
Allocation for Metro projects across India

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