The Union railway ministry has been using drones to take updates on the developments of Seawoods-Nerul-Uran railway project.
Drones are mainly being used to gather information about new railway tracks, construction of railway stations and other important aspects of the projects. Narendra Patil, chief public relations officer of the Central Railway (CR), confirmed the news. “Drones were used once to inspect the development once,” he said.
Sources from the Central Railway told Hindustan Times that Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu is personally monitoring the project. “Following his instructions, drones were used to inspect the developments. Those are likely to be used frequently henceforth as the ministry is keen to complete the project as early as possible,” a senior officer said.
The ambitious joint venture project between the City Industrial and Development Corporation (CIDCO), the state government and the Central Railway seeks to provide direct access between Uran town, Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) and the newly developed areas of Mumbai, including the Navi Mumbai International Airport.
Central Railway and CIDCO had, in 1996-97, announced the Rs1,803-crore project with the railway share being one-third and CIDCO bearing two-third of the cost. The original Belapur-Seawoods-Uran project is 60km-long. However, in the first phase, the Nerul-Belapur-Seawoods link route of 22km is being readied.
The 22km rail line will have a total of 10 stations, including Seawoods, Sarsangam, Targhatr, Bamandongri, Kharkopar, Gavar, Ranjanpada, Nhava Sheva, Dronagiri and Uran. “The laying of the tracks between the first five stations will be completed by March 2017. However, CIDCO will require time to build the stations. Also, sanctions from the railway board and Commission of Railway Safety (CRS) are awaited,” said a senior railway officer.
Apart from improving the infrastructure in Navi Mumbai, the project is expected to bring a lot of changes to the city. “First, this project will provide direct access to several interior areas that have poor transport facility as of now. It will leave a direct impact on the real estate business in those areas. New buildings will be developed and people will migrate to the city from the peripheral areas,” said a real estate developer from Vashi.
“Secondly, with new residential areas, schools, colleges, hospitals and financial institutes with come up and it will ultimately develop the entire city,” he added.
According to a central railway official, “The forest land under the project is under the jurisdiction of Raigad collectorate and hence we will require their permission. We are following up on it.”
He informed, “So far Rs 400 cr worth of project work has been completed in the first phase. The project envisages 10 railway stations. In the first phase there will be 5 stations and in the next phase 5 stations.”
Added the official, “While a new Seawoods railway station is being constructed, a new railway line is also being added to it.”
According to a CIDCO official, “Getting the forest land should not be a problem and it is under process. Under therailway act, even if there are mangroves in the area, there is a provision for granting permission and we are confident of getting it.”
He informed, “The delay has been due to the land acquisition matter. The locals want equal land to that which will be acquired from them. CIDCO has proposed to give 22.5% developed land, as has been the case with the airport PAPs. There are also some administrative issues that are being sorted out.”