Two years after it was allocated Rs 476 crore in the railway budget, the proposed 8-km Airoli-Kalwa elevated rail corridor may have to be redesigned as the Central Railway (CR) and planning agency Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation (MRVC) are not able to reach to consensus on executing the project as it is planned right now.
The proposed elevated rail corridor is to connect the main and trans-harbour lines on CR and thereby ease the load on Thane station. Currently, to go to Panvel station (on the trans-harbour line), a commuter needs to go to Thane station (on the main line), which sees an average footfall of 6.5 lakh every day.
For the proposed line, around 2.5 hectares of land is needed, 8,000 people will have to be rehabilitated. Construction of a new railway station at Dighe, midway through the corridor, started around six months ago.
The MRVC wants the corridor to be extended to Kalyan on the main line contending that constructing merely 8 km of a railway line is wasteful. It recommended that the CR terminate some trains at Ghatkopar and Kurla during peak hours, and services from Airoli could be taken all the way to Kalyan through the new corridor.
It is also looking at the possibility of extending the corridor to Panvel later.
The CR, however, disagrees. Its officials say once the fifth and sixth lines between Thane and Diva, which have been in the pipeline since 2008, come up, Thane station will see a higher footfall. “There are 15 services already running on the slow corridor between Thane and Kalyan. Adding services from Airoli to this line will make it more congested,” says a CR official.
Over the past few days, CR and MRVC officials have had several meetings to break the deadlock, but neither side has relented as yet. Work on construction of Dighe station has stalled owing to this impasse. It seems that redesigning the project is the only way left to end the stalemate.