Railways Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal has firmed up plans for awarding civil contracts this year for constructing the Churchgate-Virar elevated rail corridors in Mumbai at a cost of Rs. 21,000 crore.
The rail corridor plan for India’s financial capital is among Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s dream project and the biggest such to be undertaken under the PPP mode.
The Railways will shortly move a note to the union cabinet, seeking approval for this big-ticket project.
“Fresh alignments finalized by the Railways have eliminated the need to demolish buildings (proposed in the earlier design) and the three short-listed vendors – GMR Infra, L&T and the IL&FS – have expressed satisfaction with the new plan”, General Manager of Western Railways Mahesh Kumar told a group of visiting journalists.
The Railways have forwarded a draft of a state-support agreement to the Maharashtra government for this mega project for running double-track air-conditioned suburban trains on elevated corridors that will have 28 stations on the 60 kilometer route with a capacity of running eight-coach trains in each direction at a frequency of 90 seconds. A 20 kilometer route will be underground.
“The state support agreement on the shifting of civil utilities will be signed this month and the Request for Qualification (RFQs) will be floated by April”, Kumar said.
Detailing on the usage of the Floor Space Index – for commercialization of available land along the corridor – is expected to be spelt out in the coming budget, sources said.
It is likely that the entire project – including design, engineering, construction, operation and maintaince – will be awarded to one vendor.
Mumbai has one of the most crowded and over-loaded suburban systems in the world, with the island city witnessing a four-fold growth in population since 1951. Estimates are that 50% of the first class suburban rail passengers and 20% of the second class passengers will shift to the elevated corridors when these are built.
Ninety-five percent of the land required for the project has been acquired, while the Railways have also finalized plans for rehabilitating 1700 persons likely to be affected by the project.