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Mumbai stampede: How can railway track cost more than bullet train, asks Goyal

Union railway minister Piyush Goyal asks Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation how the cost of the 50-km-long elevated projects could be more than the cost of a bullet train project.

mumbai Updated: Oct 04, 2017 22:57 IST
Aroosa Ahmed
Railway minister Piyush Goyal.
Railway minister Piyush Goyal.(PTI Photo)

“How can the cost of every km of elevated track be more than what it would be for a a bullet train?’’

That’s the question Union railway minister Piyush Goyal is said to have asked Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation (MRVC) officials during the marathon meeting held on Saturday, in the aftermath of the Elphinstone Road bridge stampede.

Goyal slammed the MRVC — the nodal agency for implementing the city’s railway projects — asking them to revise the estimates of the ambitious elevated rail corridors from CST to Panvel and Bandra to Virar.

Sources present at the meeting confirmed to HT that Goyal was so miffed with the estimates of these projects he said: “If the estimated cost of the elevated projects is more than the cost of the bullet train, I feel suffocated with the level of corruption in the room.”

HT confirmed these statements from two independent sources from different agencies present at this meeting.

While the cost of one kilometre of track for a bullet train is around Rs 81 crore, for both the elevated corridor projects between Bandra and Virar and CSMT and Kalyan, it would be around Rs 200 crore each. The total cost of the Bandra-Virar corridor is Rs 16,368 crore and CSMT-Panvel corridor is Rs 12,168 crore.

Goyal asked MRVC officials how the cost of the 50-km-long elevated projects could be more than the cost of a bullet train project.

When railway officials further said the cost of one coach of a rake for the elevated corridor project would be ₹5 crore, Goyal reiterated if that is the amount then the level of corruption is quite high and there is no transparency in the planning of the projects.

The minister asked officials to review the estimates of both the projects and get back to him with the revisions.

He is also learnt to have asked Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) commissioner UPS Madan about the cost of building the Metro corridor and how these estimates were also higher than the bullet train. Sources in the MMRDA explained the key difference between the bullet train and Metro is the number of stations serviced.

“The cost of a Metro line is always more expensive than even a high-speed train. Our Metro costs are very much comparable to metros in other cities.’’

Prabhat Sahai, managing director, MRVC said, “The elevated corridor was discussed in the meeting. We will be working on it.”