The railway board recently cleared a cost escalation of Rs 300 crore to speed up the 27-km Belapur-Seawoods-Uran suburban railway line project, which will provide connectivity to newly developed areas in Raigad district. This increases the cost of the much-delayed project from Rs 1,450 crore to Rs 1,780 crore.
Railway officials said this was down to inflation, a delay in land acquisition, and other reasons. “The railway board approved revised estimates of the project last month,” said a senior railway official.
The Central Railway undertook the project to provide rail connectivity to trans-harbour town Uran and its surrounding areas, which have seen rapid development since the Jawaharlal Nehru Port came up. The line is expected to cut travel time to Uran, which is 95km from Mumbai.
The project was launched in July 1997 and was originally expected to cost Rs 495 crore. The project is a joint venture between the Indian Railways and the City Industrial Development Corporation (Cidco), which will share the cost. But 18 years later, officials have not been able to acquire all the land required for the project. A railway official said Cidco was supposed to hand over a 3-km stretch that is under the forest department, but is yet to do so.
Railway officials said the plan was to split the project into two phases — Seawoods to Kharkopar and Kharkopar to Uran. They plan to complete the first phase by mid-2017 and the next by the end of 2018.
The railway line will have 11 new 12-coach suburban trains – the cost of which is included in the project’s budget – and 10 stations en route.