There’s some good news in the new year. You can get out of that crowded station at the earliest and catch a cab or sit in an auto and get to your work faster. The railway board has cleared two major projects on Mumbai suburban railways that had been pending since a long time and will help decongesting areas around local railway stations.
The first is a plan to improve access to six suburban stations had remained on paper for more than two years has been cleared. The other project is to partially fund two road over bridges in place of existing level crossings on the Western Line. Both these projects will significantly improve passengers amenities and speed up local services.
In a letter dated 26 December 2006, the railway board cleared the Station Area Traffic Improvement Scheme (SATIS) agreeing to share 50 per cent cost. The project was devised two years ago by the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) to improve access to the railway stations at Dadar, Andheri, Malad, Borivli, Ghatkopar and Chembur.
The project, which is part of the World Bank-funded Mumbai Urban Transport Project, involves constructing new foot over-bridges (FOBs), connecting existing FOBs, building new pedestrian subways and walkways, creating new parking lots and repairing footpaths in the station areas. The total cost is estimated at Rs 709.44 million. The periphery of each of these stations will be developed under SATIS.
The second project, pending since three years, is about building two road over bridges over the Western Railway. The two bridges will be built in place of two level crossings between Andheri and Jogeshwari and Jogeshwari and Goregaon. This will not only help speed up suburban trains, but also save a lot of time for road commuters. Neither trains nor road vehicles would be delayed once the flyover is ready.
Dr PC Sehegal, managing director of Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation told Hindustan Times that the two projects had been cleared.
MMRDA Joint Metropolitan Commissioner Milind Mhaiskar said as they did not get any response from the railways, the MMRDA had recently dropped plans for two stations, Andheri and Dadar, but will now think on it all over again. SATIS was first announced in May 2002 and the four-year delay has lead to a cost escalation of at least 10 per cent according to World Bank sources.