The biggest hurdle in the proposed Churchgate-Virar elevated railway corridor on the Western Railway (WR) may have been removed, with the state government finally showing its willingness to sign the state support agreement (SSA) with the Railways, said a senior Railways official on Saturday.
The much-awaited SSA for the 63.5km-long corridor from Oval Maidan in Churchgate to Virar is likely to be signed by mid-February. The delay in signing the SSA was owing to differences between the state and Railways on issues such as floor space index (FSI), land acquisition, utility shifting and way leave charges.
The SSA will be state's commitment to help Railways in land acquisition, shifting utility services on time, attaining more FSI to help developers generate funds and way leave charges for bringing equipment and required machinery to the city.
"The chairman of the railway board has been holding talks with chief minister Prithviraj Chavan for the past two to three months. The SSA is now expected to be signed by February 15," said AP Mishra, member, mechanical engineering railway board.
Presently, three major infrastructure companies--IL&FS, GMR and L&T--have shown interest in building the elevated corridor for suburban services. The selected bidder will be responsible for designing, engineering, financing, procurement, construction, operation and maintenance of the project, under a long-term concession agreement. The Churchgate-Virar corridor, estimated to cost Rs21,000 crore will be built underground from Oval Maidan to Mahalaxmi. Mishra said, "Three projects including the elevated Churchgate-Virar corridor, CST - Panvel elevated corridor and Virar-Vasai-Panvel corridor is likely to reduce suburban traffic."