Rs 9,356cr Virar-Panvel suburban line to be up for approval from rly board by month-end
Source: Daily News & Analysis
The Rs9,356 crore Virar-Vasai- Panvel suburban corridor project is expected to take its second most important step towards approval on September 29, when the Expanded Board for the Railways (EBR) discusses it. The EBR comprises of officials from the railway ministry, the NITI Aayog as well as department of economic affairs. A nod from the EBR allows a project to be placed before the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affiars (CCEA) which is chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Once the CCEA approves the project, then work on finances, construction and other aspects of the project can begin, explained railway officials. At 70.14 kilometres, this 2-line corridor will be longer than Churchgate-Virar, CST-Panvel and CST-Kalyan and at Rs9,356 crore will be the single largest investment into one standalone railway project in Mumbai.
The project will be a 50-50 partnership between the state government and the railways, and the chances of local civic bodies as well as private firms being brought in as stakeholders is also possible, said officials. For a long time now, the railways has been toying with the idea of building this line with funds being raised by local civic bodies who will reap the real estate and industrial benefits of a suburban corridor running right through their townships. However, there are differences between the state and the railways on this plan and it remains to be seen how the project will ultimately shore up finances. The line is expected to start a new urban agglomeration in the Virar to Panvel belt.
This agglomeration, officials said, had the capability to rival the growth of Navi Mumbai as a new city built through the 1980s and early 1990s. “It could be the third Mumbai after Greater Mumbai and Navi Mumbai if everything goes according to plan and the state and railways can work together to make the project’s construction viable,” said an official. “It has the potential to create a new urban set-up in the Bhiwandi, Kharbao, Kalamboli, Diva, Panvel area. If work begins now, it could be a reality over the next decade,” said a senior railway official