As the railways’ upgradation project plods along, P.C. Sehgal finds himself at the centre of attention. He is the managing director of Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation (MRVC), which is implementing the project. He spoke to Hindustan Times about the challenges before him.
How will the upgrade helped commuters?
The carrying capacity will increase by 35 per cent by the end of Phase 1 next year. There has already been a relief of 14 per cent on peak-hour trains. The new trains are healthier for commuters as blowers pump in fresh air and reduce carbon dioxide inside. The trains are giving commuters jerk-free rides, they are less noisy and brighter inside.
But the pace of work is slow.
Such projects have a long gestation period. In fact, I would say we are moving fast. One has to deal with more than 40 agencies. Initially, things were stuck due to various problems but after 2006 they started improving. We have also begun simultaneous works on the second and third phases that would cut travel time in the future.
Will commuters have an easy ride in the next few years?
Not only an easy ride, but the network will cover larger distances too as we plan to extend suburban trains to Dahanu. Work is on at a fast pace.
What other solutions are there to ease Mumbai’s commuting problems?
The new sealinks will be crucial. A rail corridor should be added to these sealinks on which small trains can ply. There should be rail sealinks between Borivli and Churchgate and Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus and Alibaug. Motorists can park their vehicles at both ends of the sealinks.