Hazare protest puts rly proposal on hold | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Hazare protest puts rly proposal on hold

Social activist Anna Hazare’s Jan Lokpal bill seems to have inadvertently caused Mumbai’s suburban railway commuters some inconvenience.

mumbai Updated: Sep 04, 2011 01:10 IST

Social activist Anna Hazare’s Jan Lokpal bill seems to have inadvertently caused Mumbai’s suburban railway commuters some inconvenience.

The Parliament postponed taking action on a proposal to run 12-coach trains on the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST)-Panvel stretch due to Hazare’s anti-graft campaign, which captured their attention.

The Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation, which is implementing the project on behalf of the Indian Railways, had sent the Rs725-crore proposal to the railway ministry to get it approved and its budget sanctioned under the supplementary budget of the Parliament in its monsoon session. The proposal was not cleared in the railway budget announced in February.

However, the Lokpal issue hijacked all issues that were to be presented in the Parliament’s two houses. By the end of the monsoon session, all political parties were involved in discussing the Lokpal Bill as Hazare went on an indefinite hunger strike in Delhi and his campaign gathered steam in the subsequent days.

“We have been informed that the project would be tabled in the railway budget next year,” said a senior railway official, requesting anonymity.

The clearance of this proposal would considerably ease commuting for railway commuters.

The proposal includes procuring more coaches to convert 9-coach trains into 12-coach trains, acquiring spares and loose parts for the manufacturing of trains, extension of platforms and improving power supply and allied equipment to convert the power supply to trains from the present 1,500-volt Direct Current to 25,000-volt Alternating Current.

Presently, 10-lakh odd commuters travel in 9-coach trains on the Harbour line. Twelve-coach trains will be able to carry 33% more commuters than 9-coach trains can. There is also a need to augment the number of coaches as the satellite city of Navi Mumbai is seeing large number of residents and commercial units shifting base there.

Presently, the Central Railway (CR) operates 35, 9-coach trains on the CST-Panvel route with 580 services being offered daily.

On the Trans-Harbour line, six 12-coach and four 9-coach trains offer 208 services on this route daily. In October 2010, the CR extended the platforms on the Thane-Vashi-Panvel Trans Harbour route, thereby enabling them to run 12-car trains. This route sees a 7% annual rise in the number of commuters each year.