CSMT-Thane underground corridor planned

The Railways has proposed a new underground corridor between Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) and Thane, along with two other railway corridors in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region, under the fourth phase of the Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP 4). The proposal has been sent to the State government and Railway Board.

The underground railway project will be built jointly by the Railways and the government of Maharashtra and executed by a special purpose vehicle such as the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) or the National High Speed Rail Corporation. According to the proposal, 60% of the project cost is expected to be met through financing from multilateral funding agencies or borrowings from the market. The remaining 40% will be borne equally by the Railways and the State government, which has been the norm for all MUTP projects. The completion cost of the project after factoring inflation is pegged at ₹17,962 crore. The project is expected to take five years to execute and is proposed to start by April 1, 2020 and completed by March 31, 2025.

The other two projects that are part of MUTP 4 were earlier part of the ₹33,690-crore MUTP 3A — the new corridor between Virar and Panvel and the elevated fast corridor between CSMT and Panvel. The Niti Aayog had asked the Railways to take a fresh look at the feasibility of both projects and had dropped it from MUTP 3A. Senior officials said in the new scheme, they are planning to terminate the corridor at Vasai, while the elevated fast corridor would remain the same. Senior officials said the three projects together would cost around ₹34,000 crore.

The proposal of the underground corridor states that it will have only five halts and will be built along the lines of a metro. It aims to reduce the travel time to around 21 minutes from 35 to 40 minutes. Senior railway officials said the project was never part of any MUTP plan, but was under discussion. “Former Railway minister Suresh Prabhu had asked for a feasibility study, which was done by DMRC. The Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation was appointed as the nodal agency for the project, and has submitted DMRC’s report with the State government,” said a senior official.

Senior officials, however, also expressed apprehensions about the underground project as it aligned closely with the Thane-Wadala Metro 4, which the State government is executing. The State Cabinet on Tuesday cleared the proposal for the underground extension of the corridor, which will run from Wadala to General Post Office near CSMT, and is expected to cost around ₹8,000 crore.

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Printable version | Jul 23, 2021 11:13:13 AM |

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