It’s Navi Mumbai’s time in the sun. Union railway minister has given the green light to all proposed mega projects which aim to change the face of rail connectivity to this region and parts of Raigad district.
Fast train corridors between Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus-Panvel and Virar-Vasai-Diva-Panvel sections, operation of 12-car trains on the existing Harbour line to bring down congestion, and a direct rail link from the Panvel station to the proposed Navi Mumbai airport, which is a little more than a couple of kilometres away, are on the cards. A feasibility study on building a new link between this airport and Thane will also be conducted.
While presenting the railway budget, Trivedi expressed his optimism about the projects. “...MRVC (Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation) will carry out (a) feasibility study for construction of fast corridors on CSTM-Panvel and Virar-Vasai-Diva-Panvel sections.... The proposed 72km link between Virar-Panvel third line in the PPP (public-private partnership) mode will open (up) new avenues for development of northern part of Mumbai and facilitate transit between eastern and western parts of the city. The feasibility of a spur from Panvel to Navi Mumbai airport will also be examined.”
He even announced new projects. “Works will be taken up to facilitate 12-car rakes on Harbour line. A new double line work of Belapur-Seawood-Uran is in progress, which will provide direct passenger connectivity to JNPT (Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust).”
Senior officials from the MRVC, the city’s official railway think tank that is tasked with overseeing the conceptualisation and implementation of these projects, are satisfied with the provisions made in the budget.
Commuters’ representatives, though, are not as pleased. They said several other demands were left out. Subhash Gupta, member of the Zonal Railway Users’ Consultative Committee, said, “The recommendations of the central organisation for project implementation committee have remained only on paper.”