The Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP) has got the money it needed.
Railways Minister Mamata Banerjee, in the Railway Budget presented in Parliament on Wednesday, allocated Rs 330 crore for Phases 1 and 2 of the MUTP, the mega project funded largely by the World Bank to upgrade Mumbai’s transport infrastructure.
An equal amount of money would be contributed by the state government, taking the total allocation of funds to Rs 660 crore this year.
A senior railway official said on condition of anonymity: “We will require funds to continue the project at the same pace. Thankfully, the money has been allocated. An equal amount will now come from the state government. So far, about 80 of the 129 12-car trains we required have arrived.”
Officials were, however, worried as they were awaiting the Railways Ministry’s nod to increase the capacity of Harbour line trains between Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus and Panvel by introducing 12-car trains.
Phase 3 of the MUTP, the plan for which has been sent by local officials to the ministry, is also awaiting approval.
“Phase 2 of the MUTP will be complete in 2014. After that, there is a vacuum. The ministry should have approved Phase 3 by now as it would have given a boost to future projects. If we begin to plan Phase 3 now, it will be ready after 2014,” a senior official said on condition of anonymity.
A crucial decision to levy a surcharge on Mumbai commuters was also ignored by the railways minister. “Ideally, the moment new trains started arriving, the World Bank loan levy was supposed to be passed on to consumers. But the ministry has skirted the issue again this year,” said the official.