In a move that will improve local train travel and bring relief to 70 lakh commuters, the World Bank on Wednesday cleared a loan of Rs 1,978 crore (US $430 million) for the first phase of Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP) II.
The project will add 72 new 12-coach trains to the suburban train service. By 2014, MUTP II will ensure that a local train pulls into a station in less than every three minutes.
Of the Rs 3,800 crore project cost, the state and the railways are expected to spend the rest.
Now, both the state and the railways have to figure out how they will allot Rs 911 crore each.
The railways has proposed a surcharge of 8-10 per cent on train tickets, which means the minimum fare may rise from Rs 4 to Rs 4.50.
Sources in the Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation (MRVC) said the hike is essential. “Ticket prices have stayed the same since 2006. A minimal surcharge of 8-10 per cent in ticket prices will make it easier to recover the cost.”
This plan is yet to get the final go-ahead from the railway board.
The state and the railways also plan to share revenue from the sale of a 10-acre railway plot in Bandra (East). The plot is expected to fetch Rs 4,000 crore, half of which can go to MUTP II, said P.C. Sehgal, managing director, MRVC, adding that the funding issue will be resolved in 20 days.
“The loan approval is good news for the city. The state has kept aside funds and the project won’t be delayed because of funds crunch,” said T.C. Benjamin, principal secretary, urban development department.