Rly budget on Feb 1: MMR may get more lines, amenitiesUpdated: Jan 24, 2020 00:32 IST
The railway budget on February 1, the first after the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government came to power in the Centre for the second time, is likely to include approvals for projects that will expand the suburban railway network of Mumbai to the Mumbai Metropolitan Region. The projects include operation of suburban local trains between Panvel and Vasai stations, construction of new foot overbridges (FOB), escalators, elevators, construction of the fourth railway lines between Karjat and Lonavala, and Kasara and Igatpuri.
The Centre in 2019 gave nod to one of the crucial projects – ₹33,690-crore Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP) 3A, which will be funded by the state and Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation (MRVC). The MRVC’s ₹980-crore proposal for suburban local trains between Panvel-Nilje-Kopar and Vasai, which was first suggested by Union railway minister Piyush Goyal, is likely to be included in this year’s budget. It includes construction of new railway stations, increasing the height of railway platforms, laying of a new railway line, changing the signalling equipment and reducing the distance between signals. The CR had approved the proposal and sent it to the railway board for final nod.
“Operation of local trains between Panvel and Vasai could be included in the railway budget this year. The proposal has received nearly all clearances and will make way for operation of train services without any extra cost,” said a senior railway official.
The MRVC has proposed operation of four local trains per hour and 77 local train services through the day between the stations.
Earlier, the project was part of MUTP-3A and was included as construction of the third and fourth railway lines between Panvel and Vasai stations. The project had not received sanction then and was sent back for the railway ministry’s review.
Among other projects, the budget is likely to give a boost to construction of passenger amenities such as new FOBs, escalators and elevators. The CR has also proposed construction of the fourth railway lines between Karjat and Lonavala, and Kasara and Igatpuri, on its ghat section.
“We want a unified railway zone. Further, the budget should include a process through which approved projects are monitored. Local train operations between Panvel and Vasai are crucial, as the population has shifted out of Mumbai,” said Subhash Gupta, president, Rail Yatri Parishad.