Virar-Dahanu line extension project clears crucial hurdle
MRVC completes land measurement, says 1.4 lakh sq mt is required for two new lines and eight new stations; land acquisition to begin soon
With the completion of a crucial step in the land acquisition process earlier this month, the Railways has set in motion the much-needed process to expand and strengthen the railway network beyond Virar. Work on the project, which has been undertaken by the Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation (MRVC), will start as soon as the allocated money begins to flow.
On May 1, 2018, in '20 villages hold the key to Western Railway's (WR) future , mid-day had reported about the villages between Virar and Dahanu that held the key to the decongestion of WR in Mumbai. A key process in that endeavour now seems to be complete.
A MRVC spokesperson said, "We have finally completed the joint measurement survey. This is a very important step in the implementation of any development project as it determines the actual requirement of the land and is the last process required for land acquisition."
Decongestion and expansion
The land, about 1,39,500 sq m, will be used to lay two new rail lines and eight new suburban stations and work will begin as soon as the allocated money starts flowing. Presently, there are nine stations between Virar and Dahanu Road, at a distance of 63.80 km. The new suburban stations and railway lines will play a key role in decongesting the Virar-Palghar-Dahanu section and expanding the Mumbai Metropolitan Region.
The proposed stations include Wadhiv and Sartodi (between the existing stations of Vaitarna and Saphale), Makunsar (between Saphale and Kelve Road), Chintupada (between Kelve Road and Palghar), Kharale Road (between Palghar and Umroli), Panchali (between Umroli and Boisar), Wanjarwada (between Boisar and Vanagon) and BSES Colony (between Vangaon and Dahanu Road).
The project also involves laying new tracks by 2023 to improve the current frequency of Dahanu trains, from one train every four hours right now, to one every 12 minutes by 2023, one every six minutes by 2031 and one per four minutes by 2041.
Weak link no more
Currently, WR has a very weak link to Mumbai, as it is connected by only two railway tracks. If there is an accident or disruption along these tracks, there is no alternative and the national link to Mumbai along WR is shut till the traffic is restored. Thus, the alternative corridor with two more lines could function as a back up to the existing lines and help WR segregate long-distance trains from suburban rail traffic. Moreover, most studies are also showing an impressive growth rate beyond Virar as Mumbai expands further. This will create more paths for trains, leading to more train services.
MUTP-4 to be approved this week
MRVC has lined up the Mumbai Urban Transport Project 4, a fresh project, to improve the city's infrastructure. The project is likely to be approved by Chief Minister's office this week. The R38,000 crore project includes the construction of a third and fourth line between Panvel and Vasai at a cost of R6,000 crore, getting AC local on Central Railway at a cost of R8,000 crore, building an underground train network from CSMT to Thane at a cost of R18,000 crore and the creation of an elevated corridor between CSMT and Panvel at a cost of 14,000 crore.
Land of industrial development
The section between Virar and Dahanu Road is under significant industrial development. The important features of major developments are:
Vaitarna: The region is expected to attract new employment and habitation with the Middle Vaitarna Water Supply Project that involves building a dam on the Vaitarna River at Kochale village, which will store water for supply and generate electricity.
Kelva Road: This station is located 5 km from Kelva beach and connects tourists to Kelva Fort, Shitla devi temple and the Shirgaon fort. A majority of Kelva residents are involved in the fishing industry due to the area's proximity of Satpati, one of the biggest fishing villages on India's western coast. Tourism is growing here.
Palghar: Industrialisation is attracting more people to the town which had a population of 53,000 in 2011.
Boisar: The town currently has more than 1,500 industrial units with companies like Tata Steel, JSW Steel, BARC, Tarapur power station, etc. providing employment opportunities. Tarapur industrial estate, a premium industrial area, is also located nearby.
Dahanu Road: The final station within the state boundary has factories producing rubber balloons, rice mills and other goods. Dahanu also houses a 500-MW thermal power plant that supplies electricity to Mumbai.
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