The Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT)-Panvel elevated fast corridor and the Virar-Vasai-Panvel suburban rail line, both part of the MUTP-3A, have been shelved by the Centre.
The central government has dropped two key suburban railway projects intended to enhance transportation between Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, and Palghar regions.
The projects — Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT)-Panvel elevated fast corridor and the Virar-Vasai-Panvel suburban rail line — were proposed under the Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP)-3A with an estimated cost of Rs 21,000 crore, as per a Hindustan Times report.
Additionally, a state government resolution from 11 April revealed that the planned purchase of 210 air-conditioned local trains has been reduced to 191.
Bhushan Gagrani, additional chief secretary (urban development-1) stated, “The projects have been scrapped by the Central government on the advice of NITI Aayog.”
The Cancelled Railway Projects
Navi Mumbai and its surrounding areas have been experiencing accelerated growth, marked by surge in real estate development and several infrastructure projects underway like the Mumbai Trans-Harbour Link (MTHL), Navi Mumbai metro and the new airport.
The development of the CSMT-Panvel fast corridor with an estimated cost of Rs 12,331 crore was put forward to provide relief to over 10 lakh Central Railway (CR) commuters, who currently rely on the 60-km Harbour Line’s slow corridor.
Madhu Kotian, president of Mumbai Rail Pravasi Sangh, said, “Just like the main line connecting Karjat and Kasara, there was also a demand to have a fast corridor connecting Panvel. However, it comes as a shock that the project has been shelved.”
Kotian added, “We will take up this issue with authorities since we cannot let go of such an important project.”, as per the HT report.
The elevated fast corridor was planned to have 11 stations and connect to Navi Mumbai international airport.
Additionally, the proposed Virar-Vasai-Panvel suburban rail line, with a budget of Rs 7,184 crore has been dropped.
This line was planned parallel to the existing Panvel-Diva-Vasai line.
The new line was intended for the people residing in residential areas such as Vasai, Bhiwandi, Kharbao, Kalamboli, Diva and Shilphata with enhanced connectivity to be able to reach prime areas in Mumbai and Thane.
Following the report, the Centre has also curtailed the number of 12-car AC locals to be procured from 210 to 191, thus reducing the cost of MUTP-3A by another Rs 1,572 crore.
Mumbai Urban Transport Project
The Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP) aims to significantly invest in railway projects, road networks and transport systems in the city.
This ambitious project also includes focus on expanding and enhancing the capacity of the city’s suburban train network.
The first phase of MUTP, which was initiated in 2002 and funded by the World Bank, worked on increasing the number of suburban trains and introducing more comfortable and ventilated railway coaches.
Currently, several projects under MUTP-3A are at various stages of implementation, with the union cabinet approving this phase on 7 March, 2019.
In a recent development, the MRVC officials presented the proposal and requested the government to issue a government resolution (GR) to enable the increased Floor Space Index (FSI) of railway land.
This was proposed in order to finance the redevelopment of railway stations proposed under the MUTP-3A. The requested FSI of five will allow for vertical development on railway land in Mumbai.