A panel of experts formed to recommend ways to modernise the railway, headed by advisor to the Prime Minister Sam Pitroda, has recommended that the railways should go ahead with the elevated rail project for suburban services in the city.
In its report submitted to Union railway minister Dinesh Trivedi, the group upheld the plans to build elevated corridor to cope with increasing number of suburban commuters. It has given a total of 113 recommendations on topics varying from tracks and bridges, signalling, rolling stock, stations and terminals, land and airspace use, dedicated freight corridors, etc.
Pointing out that the elevated corridor would cost Rs20,000 crore, the panel said it should be construction through the public-private partnership (PPP) model. However, to make the project financially viable for the private partner, the railways should contribute 20% of its cost, the report said.
The seven-member panel, formed in September last year, also recommended that suburban trains be upgraded to stainless steal and the introduction of the three-phase technology at a cost Rs12,000 crore.
For raising funds, the group suggested that the railways use land assets through creative PPP initiatives. “Proper use of surplus land and airspace can mobilise Rs50,000 crore for the railways,” the report said.
Apart from this, the committee recommended construction of the high-speed rail corridor between Ahmedabad and Mumbai with speed of 350 kmph, which is estimated to cost Rs60,000 crore.
It also recommended changes in the administrative set up of the railway board. “The report will first go to the railway board. After studying it, the board will decide whether to adopt the whole report or a few of recommendations of it,” said a Central Railway official.