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MRVC Proposes Maglev Trains for CSTM-Panvel Elevated Corridor in PPP Mode

Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation (MRVC) is planning to revive its ambitious CSMT-Panvel elevated corridor with a proposal of running Maglev trains on a Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) model.

MRVC has written to the state government and the Railway Board (RB) seeking an in-principal approval for the project, which envisages constructing a 55-km elevated line connecting CSTM and Panvel with an offshoot that will run till the Navi Mumbai International Airport (NMIA).

Maglev, or magnetic levitation, is a technology that uses two sets of magnets to make the train levitate over the rails and propel it ahead, thereby eliminating the need for wheels, axles and transmission or overhead wires.

The MRVC wrote the letter after a Switzerland-based company, SwissRapide AG, in a joint venture with Lasane Infra Private Limited (India), sent an expression of interest (EoI) to develop and run the corridor at an estimated cost of Rs 13,347 crore. The Swiss firm has proposed to use Maglev, a Swiss-German technology, by which trains can hit a speed of 200 kmph, allowing passengers to reach Panvel from CSMT within 35 minutes.

The firm has proposed to run eight-coach trains having a capacity to accommodate 2,872 passengers, with one train plying every three minutes on the main corridor and 8.6 minutes for the NMIA stretch.

Almost a year after the Railways ministry called for the review of the project, MRVC Seeking an in-principal nod, has said that private investment is expected to cover the cost of construction, operation and running of the trains.

The government, however, will have to pay for resettlement and rehabilitation in lieu of land acquisition and utility shifting, which will be borne on a 50:50 cost-sharing basis between the state and the Ministry of Railways.

While a 30-hectare plot belonging to CIDCO will have to be given permanently to the project, another .32-hectare plot will be required. The Railways, meanwhile, will have to hand over 45 hectare for permanent use and 7.65 hectare for temporary use to the project free of cost.

Principal Secretary (Urban Development) Nitin Kareer said, “We will be seeking comments from MMRDA and CIDCO over the land needed for the project along with the cost that the government will have to bear. Further clarity is also needed, if the state will be paid for the land or not.”

The MRVC had earlier proposed to build CSMT-Panvel elevated corridor at an estimated cost of Rs 10,870 crore. It was keen to get the project included under Mumbai Urban Transport Project 3A but did not get the Cabinet nod last year considering the huge cost involved. It was instead asked to consider executing the project through PPP model while taking ridership into account.