Mumbai railway commuters have high hopes from railway budget
Railway officials are hopeful about allocation of more funds for second and third phase of ambitious MUTP project, costing around Rs8,000 crore and Rs10,900 crore, respectively.Updated: Feb 01, 2018 00:01 IST
Will the big-ticket Mumbai Urban Transport Project-3A or CCTV surveillance on all suburban local trains get a nod? More than 75 lakh commuters from Mumbai will know when the railway budget is presented on Thursday.
“The budget will have good news for Mumbaiites travelling on the railway network,” said Union railway minister Piyush Goyal, when asked about the railway budget during his unscheduled visit to Parel on Wednesday.
The ambitious MUTP-3A, which has an estimated cost of Rs49,000 crore, is likely to be included in the budget. At the start of January, Goyal had a detailed discussion with chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on different infrastructure projects bundled together under MUTP-3A.
The project includes a communication based train control (CBTC) on all three suburban railway lines, extension of harbour line till Borivli, two new lines between Borivli and Virar, quadrupling of Kalyan-Asangaon and Kalyan-Badlapur and Virar-Diva-Panvel suburban line,, among others. Procurement of 210 air-conditioned (AC) local trains is also planned under the project.
“MUTP-3A is likely to get in-principle approval in the budget, after which it will get the required nods from various state and other authorities,” said a senior railway official, who did not want to be named. Some railway officials were skeptical about the complete project approval for MUTP-3A, adding a few major projects such as CBTC, Virar-Diva-Panvel suburban corridor may find a mention in the budget.
Railway officials are hopeful about allocation of more funds for second and third phase of ambitious MUTP project, costing around Rs8,000 crore and Rs10,900 crore, respectively.
Apart from fund allocation for big-ticket projects, railways are hopeful that a significant amount will be allocated for construction of foot overbridges (FoBs), escalators, elevators and other safety-related works in the wake of the Elphinstone Road tragedy that claimed 23 lives on September 29, 2017.
After the incident, Goyal had directed to safety works such as raising, repairing and widening of FOBs be taken up on priority basis and had given more power to the general manager of railways.
The western railway expects allocation for extension of slow platforms between Andheri and Virar to accommodate 15-coach local trains. The CR is hoping budget allocation to transform the World Heritage-tagged CSMT into a transport museum.
The Maharashtra government has requested for Rs2,500crore for ongoing big-ticket railway projects across the state.
A tweet by Fadnavis after a meeting with Goyal in Mumbai suggested that Union finance minister Arun Jaitley might announce setting up of a new coach factory at Latur, which is estimated to cost around Rs2,000 crore, under the Make In India initiative. “Thank you @PiyushGoyalji for your commitment for setting up of a factory of EMU (Electric Multiple Units) and Metro coaches factory at Latur. Big boost to economic activities in Marathwada and huge employment opportunities. I also congratulate @sanbhajipatil77 for continues follow up!,” he tweeted.
Commuter activists said the railway minister should consider their demand of making Mumbai suburban a separate zone, besides taking some concrete steps to boost suburban infrastructure. “Instead of going after making populist announcements, railways should focus on speedy completion of the ongoing projects and allocate sufficient funds for it,” said Subhash Gupta, a commuter activist.