Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation (MRVC) Ltd is a public sector undertaking formed between the railway ministry and the Maharashtra government for the suburban railway projects of Mumbai’s suburban Central and Western Railways worth approximately Rs 10,000 crore. Its managing director P.C.Sehgal spoke to HT on a range of issues. Excerpts:
What are the major challenges faced by the suburban railway system considered to be the lifeline of the city?
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 5,000 passengers in nine-car rake, as against a capacity of 1,800. In addition, encroachment on railway land is making it difficult for the railways to construct new lines.
What has been the strategy to solve the problems in suburban sections?
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 nine- to 12-car, thus creating 33 per cent extra carrying capacity.
What are the main objectives of MRVC?
The primary objective is to bring down the overcrowding in peak hour to 3,000 passengers as against existing around 5,000. Besides, we will also segregate the suburban train ope-ration from the main line passenger and freight services.
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 15,000 project-affected households were given a house of 225 sq ft at different locations at a total cost of Rs 400 crore.
What is your financial model to execute the projects?
The cost of the project is being shared equally by the Mahara-shtra government and railway minister, and about 50 per cent of cost is funded through loans from the World Bank.