The city is likely to be directly connected by train to textile town Bhiwandi via Thane thanks to a third elevated corridor.
The Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation (MRVC), the planning and executing body for railway infrastructure, has mooted a proposal for an elevated corridor between Kurla, Thane and Bhiwandi. The project, which is estimated to cost Rs7,500 crore, has been included in the list of future projects that aim to improve the city’s rail-based transportation.
“Presently, it’s just a thought and nothing is on the cards,” said Prabhat Ranjan, spokesperson of MRVC. But another MRVC official, requesting anonymity, said it a plan was drawn up after discussions in four-five meetings.
“The Thane-Bhiwandi suburban corridor survey was announced a few years ago in the railway budget. From there, the thought of an elevated corridor emerged,” said the official.
He said of the two other elevated corridors — CST-Panvel and CST-Kalyan — announced on the Central Railway, only the Panvel corridor is under consideration, which will pass through Kurla. Therefore, instead of building another corridor until CST and taken to Kalyan, if it starts from Kurla and goes to Bhiwandi via Thane, it would be more useful.
Bhiwandi has seen rapid growth in the past decade and has emerged as an industrial town. The area’s population has gone up owing to low-cost housing and cheap labour.
In all, so far railways has proposed three elevated corridors for the city. While nothing has happened about the CST-Kalyan corridor, railway minister Suresh Prabhu has put the Churchgate-Virar and CST-Panvel elevated corridors back on track.
MRVC chairman and managing director, Prabhat Sahay said they need to check the feasibility of the Churchgate-Virar project, which will be built on a public-private partnership basis. It could be built from Bandra or Andheri onwards and they have written to the state government about the project.
The Rs23,000 crore Churchagate-Virar elevated corridor was put in the cold box after the state government delayed signing a state support agreement with the railways and the Colaba-Andheri-SEEPZ metro line came into the picture.
Sahay said the CST-Panvel corridor will be implemented on a cash-contract basis, but before that they are going to update a detailed project report (DPR) as there is an alignment change between CST-Wadala and Vashi-Belapur.
Along with the Kurla-Thane-Bhiwandi corridor, the MRVC has mooted several new projects estimated to cost around Rs35,000 crore to improve suburban connectivity in the MMR. The list includes projects such as Virar-Vasai-Panvel and Panvel-Pen-Jite-Alibag suburban corridor and the 3rd and 4th Kalyan-Kasara and Kalyan-Karjat lines, among others.