Indian Railways signed the Subsidiary Finance Agreement (SFA) for phase III of the Mumbai Urban Transport Project, in the presence of Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, on Thursday last week. With this development, projects like new rail lines between Karjat-Panvel and quadrupling of the Virar-Dahanu and Kalwa-Airoli lines have got the much-needed push.
The MUTP-III projects include 47 AC local trains for Rs. 3,491 crores, a suburban railway corridor between Panvel and Karjat (Rs. 2,783 crore), a suburban corridor link between Airoli and Kalva (elevated) on Central Railway (Rs. 476 crore), quadrupling of the Virar-Dahanu link on Western Railway (Rs. 3,578 crore) and a trespass control system for tracks (Rs. 551 crore). The trespass control project will include construction of foot-over bridges, lifts, escalators, walls and fences.
The cost of MUTP -III Projects will be shared by the government and the Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation (MRVC). While a Rs. 3,500-crore agreement is expected to be signed with the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) this month, a Rs. 2,629-crore lease would also be taken from the Indian Railway Finance Corporation (IRFC) for the AC local trains.
A senior MRVC official said that while it’s difficult to commit to a deadline at the moment, work on all the three new rail line projects had already started. “The 28-km Panvel-Karjat corridor is being developed for the Mumbai Metropolitan Region connectivity. Once this project is completed, passengers will be able to travel directly from Panvel to Karjat and vice-versa without having to change trains at Thane,” he said.
“Work on this is being done in three phases. The first part will include construction of major and minor bridges, then earthwork and levelling will be done, followed by the laying of tracks. Construction work of bridges has already started on the Karjat-Panvel line. This will be followed by work on tunnels,” he added.
The second important project is an additional corridor (two lines) between Virar and Dahanu, to improve connectivity to Mumbai. “Beyond Virar, there are just two rail tracks as of now. This leads to capacity constraints. Two new tracks will solve the problem and will also help in increasing the frequency of trains,” the official said.
The third important one is an elevated corridor between Kalwa and Airoli. “As far as this project is concerned, there are land procurement issues. We have begun work wherever land is clear. Construction work of the Digha station has also been undertaken and is progressing well. This will be the point from where the new elevated line will start,” he added.