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Union budget: Mumbai set for an upgraded commute, more AC trains

Union finance minister Arun Jaitley announced new projects, including elevated corridors, for Mumbai, costing more than Rs40,000 crore

mumbai Updated: Feb 02, 2018 11:29 IST
Hindustan Times
Union budget,AC trains,Piyush Goyal
Commuters trying to board a train at Dadar station on Friday.(Pratik Chorge/HT)

A day after railway minister Piyush Goyal told HT there was good news in store for the city in the Union budget 2018-19, the central government promised a major boost to Mumbai’s suburban network.

Union finance minister Arun Jaitley announced new projects, including elevated corridors, for the city costing more than Rs40,000 crore and a commitment to complete ongoing projects worth Rs11,000 crore.

“The 90km of double line tracks are being added to Mumbai’s transport system at a cost of more than Rs11,000 crore. Around 150km of additional suburban network is being planned at a cost of more than Rs40,000 crore, including elevated corridors on some sections,”said Jaitley.

Railway officials said the Rs11,000 crore is the cost of the ongoing phase three of Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP-3) and Rs40,000 crore would be spent on MUTP-3A, which was recently proposed in a joint meeting between railways and the state government.

Jaitley also announced railway stations with a footfall of at least 25,000 will get escalators — this includes a majority of the stations in the city.

According to officials, Goyal has bundled together all major railway projects needed to upgrade the suburban network under MUTP-3A. This includes buying 210 new AC locals and a cab- signalling system that will help increase speed and frequency of local trains. Further, MUTP 3A includes projects that will provide faster connectivity between Mumbai and the suburbs and will also improve connectivity in the MMR.

Some of these projects are elevated corridor between CSMT-Panvel, which will connect to the Navi Mumbai airport, an extension of the Harbour line till Borivli from Goregaon, two more lines between Borivli-Virar to segregate suburban and outstation trains to improve capacity and speed on this route.

The Virar-Diva-Panvel suburban corridor, which aimed to provide east-west connectivity in the MMR, is also part of MUTP-3A. Quadrupling of tracks between Kalyan-Asangaon and Kalyan-Badlapur and redevelopment of stations is also planned under the project.

Railway officials in the city were waiting for more clarity on the provisions in the budget. The officials said the Rs11,000 crore allotted had been announced in the budget last year.

“The allocation will be confirmed only after the pink book [it carries detailed budgetary allocation for approved railway works] arrives. The book will have the lists of projects that have been approved in the budget,” said a senior railway official.According to officials, the allocation of just Rs40,000 crore for projects under MUTP 3A means it is likely a few projects have been dropped.

“We had sent the overall cost of the projects, which was Rs54,000 crore. If the money allocated is just Rs40,000 crore, then it is likely a few projects have been dropped, which could include cab signalling,” an official said.

While addressing a press conference in Delhi, Goyal said, “For making Mumbai’s suburban services beneficial, secure and faster, the Indian government has taken a historic decision. After a discussion with chief minister Devendra Fadanvis, a holistic rail development plan of Mumbai was prepared,” he said.

Jaitley also stated that the redevelopment of 600 major railway stations is being undertaken by the Indian Railway through the Station Development Co. Limited.

Railway officials were hopeful that many suburban stations will be redeveloped under the programme. Jaitley also said CCTVs will be provided at all stations and on trains.According to railway officials, this includes the city’s stations.

Passenger associations have welcomed the budget, but have stated that pending projects should be a priority. “Goyal should now form a committee that ensures the projects are taken up on time and also to look at existing projects.,” said Subhash Gupta, President, Rail Yatri Parishad.

First Published: Feb 01, 2018 23:40 IST