Windfall for some (railway projects), peanuts for one
While the Bandra-Virar elevated corridor may remain only on paper with Rs 10,000 sanctioned for it, other crucial lines have been given the required funds for the first time
There will be 47 new 12-car rakes for the suburban network, but no provision has been made for them in this Budget
Will the Bandra-Virar elevated rail remain only on paper? That’s the fear after it got R10,000 in the Pink Book released by the Finance Ministry yesterday. But for the first time, the CST-Panvel and Virar-Vasai-Panvel corridors have got the required funds.
The state and Indian Railways signed an MoU in December 2016 for this project. Sources, however, said that with the Dahisar-Charkop-Bandra-Mankhurd and Colaba-Bandra-Seepz Metros coming up, the Bandra-Virar rail line is unlikely to get preference.
And that’s why the R19,500 crore elevated rail corridor has barely got a token amount of R10,000. The cost sanctioned for the project stands at R1,526 crore; it means the railways in Mumbai will have to put that money to use before demanding more funds.
The R14,500 crore Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT)-Panvel elevated corridor, which is the fast line on Harbour line, got R10 lakh for this year; the ministry has sanctioned the entire cost for this new line.
It has also taken into consideration the Navi Mumbai airport, which the corridor will connect to. "The alignment and stations are decided; hence, chances of it starting earlier," said a senior railway official. The state and Indian Railways will fund this project 50:50 for faster clearances with respect to land procurement, fund disbursement and completion.
Virar-Vasai Road-Panvel project
This new suburban rail corridor on the anvil shall be built at a cost of R11,000 crore. It will join the Western, Main and Harbour lines. This 63-km long route will create a parallel township that would also allow the government to set up commercial centres at the far end of extended Mumbai. Even this project received R10 lakh, with a total of R8,787 crore sanctioned for it.
Clearance for MUTP-III
The Union Cabinet has already cleared the Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP)-III. The R11,440 crore projects in MUTP-III involve expansion of the suburban corridor. The arms of local trains shall expand to newer suburban corridors between Panvel and Karjat (28 km), Airoli and Kalwa (3 km) and quadrupling of Virar-Dahanu (63 km). MUTP-III got R823 crore in this Budget, while R274 crore was sanctioned for MUTP-II.
"We will first start with the Airoli-Kalwa rail line for which tenders shall be called very soon," said Prabhat Sahai, chairman and managing director, Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation. This will be a completely new line that will connect Trans-Harbour with Main line of Central Railway. A new station at Dighe will also come up. Moreover, there’s the Panvel-Karjat line that will complement the new suburban corridor connecting Virar.
AC trains to chug in
MUTP-III will also bring in new rakes. The railways here is proposing AC ones under this project. Sources said the rail ministry has accepted in-principally that the trains would have closed doors and vestibules (similar to coaches found in Metro rail), thus indicating to the fact that they would be AC local trains.
Rs 10 lakh
Amount sanctioned for CST-Panvel and Virar-Vasai-Panvel corridors each
Amount given for the Bandra-Virar elevated line
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