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Rediff.com  » Business » Mumbai local train travel may get better

Mumbai local train travel may get better

By Rupesh Janve & Ashish Sinha in New Delhi
February 20, 2008 11:06 IST
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A big bonanza is on the anvil for Mumbai residents. In order to decongest the city's crowded local train network, Railway Minister Lalu Prasad is expected to announce the second phase of the Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP) at an estimated outlay of Rs 4,510 crore (Rs 45.1 billion) in this year's Railway Budget.

The total proposed project cost includes loan from the banks to the tune of Rs 1,910 crore (Rs 19.1 billion), to be equally divided between the Ministry of Railways and Government of Maharashtra, and grants-in-aid to the tune of Rs 2,300 crore (Rs 23 billion), official sources said. The project is also likely to get an additional assistance of $100 million through a foreign fund.

The railway ministry is learnt to have identified six projects under MUTP Phase-II, which includes fifth line on the Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus-Kurla, Mumbai Central-Borivali and Bandra-Kurla East-West Link stretches.

The project is expected to be completed in five years. The plan is to introduce 96 additional electrical multiple units (EMU), with 12 cars, which will run on the Central and Western Railway routes.

The railways are also planning to generate Rs 300 crore (Rs 3 billion) through development of land at Bandra for commercial purpose, which is likely to increase depending on the floor area ratio.

The ongoing MUTP Phase-I is expected to be completed in 2010. The estimated cost of the phase I projects related to rail component is Rs 3,125 crore (Rs 31.25 billion), to be equally between the Ministry of Railways and Government of Maharashtra.

The MUTP Phase I is being funded by the World Bank through a $463 million loan from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), including $305 million for the rail component, and a $79 million credit from the International Development Association (IDA), including $60 million for rail component.

The second phase is aimed at improving the Mumbai suburban rail service, the lifeline of the metropolitan city. It aims at providing adequate rolling stock to run 12 car services at three-minute headway.

According to a survey, almost 70 per cent of the commuters use rail transport and the lack of investment in transport infrastructure over the years has stretched the city's suburban rail network to crisis levels.

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Rupesh Janve & Ashish Sinha in New Delhi
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