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‘Population rise is causing problems’

india Updated: Aug 03, 2009 01:09 IST
Gaurav Choudhury

Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation Ltd (MRVC) is a public sector undertaking formed with 50:50 participation between the Ministry of Railways and the Maharashtra government. It undertakes the suburban railway projects for Mumbai suburban sections of Central and Western Railways. Its managing director P C Sehgal spoke to HT on a range of issues. Excerpts:

What are the major challenges faced by Mumbai suburban railway system, which is considered Mumbai’s lifeline?

The British introduced the electric based suburban trains in Mumbai in 1925. Abnormal increase in population and growth of suburban traffic is leading to extensive overloading to the extent of 5000 passengers in 9-car rake as against a capacity of 1800. Besides, the inability of obsolete technology to tackle additional traffic has led to major challenges.

What has been the strategy to solve these problems?

The MRVC has been formed to implement the railway projects in Mumbai with World Bank assistance.
Among other things, the MRVC will introduce new traction technology at 25 kV AC converting from a 1500V DC system and increasing the length of trains from 9 to 12 car, thus creating 33 per cent extra carrying capacity. We will also introduce modern rakes .

What are MRVC’s main objectives?

The primary objective is to bring down the over crowding in peak hour peak direction 9-car train to 3000 passengers as against existing around 5000.

What is your financial model to execute the projects?

The cost of the project is being shared equally by the Maharashtra government and the ministry of railways and about 50 per cent of the cost is funded by World Bank.

MRVC has resettled 15,000 project affected families. Can you elaborate on the relief and rehabilitation process?

The surplus vacant railway land available in Mumbai suburban sections have become the soft target for encroachment. For getting this land free for implementing 15000 project affected households were given a house of 225 sq. ft. at different locations at a total cost of 400 crore.