The plan to build an elevated railway between Churchgate and Virar got a boost after the state government agreed to the Indian Railway's demands to assist them in acquiring land, give additional floor space index (FSI) and to shift underground utilities such as water supply lines.
This was decided in a meeting between railway representatives and state officials on Monday.
"We can now say that the project is on the fast track," said additional chief secretary (urban development) TC Benjamin.
Railways wants to build the Rs15,000-crore project on a public-private-partnership basis.
In Monday's meeting, railway officials urged the state government to help acquire land along the tracks for construction of the elevated corridor, give them an FSI of 4 and help shift underground utilities that would obstruct construction.
Railway officials want to acquire land within 500 days so that construction can begin. "We agreed to help them acquire land but asked them to keep a plan for the rehabilitation of commercial or residential structure owners ready before the acquisition process begins," said another official.
State government officials, however, refused to give additional FSI for the project. "We can give the required FSI only at specific places to avoid putting pressure on existing infrastructure. We asked them to identify the places where they want additional FSI," said Benjamin.
The extra FSI is likely to be used for multi-storeyed stations with components for commercial exploitation.
The state also asked the railway officials to shift minimum underground utilities in a bid to avoid inconveniencing people. Some utilities such as water supply lines should not be shifted unless necessary, railways officials were told.
The state has already given its nod for the project.
The Marine Lines to Churchgate section of the project would go underground. An underground station will be built below Oval Maidan to avoid more congestion at Churchgate. Since the Oval Maidan area is a heritage precinct, the state will allow minimum construction. "Only entry and exit gates will be built on the surface similar to the Delhi metro at some places," said the official. "We will soon have another meeting to finalise the decisions," the official said.