Mumbai: The CST-Panvel elevated corridor looks financially riskier than its Bandra to Virar counterpart, railway sources have said. Railway officials have started worrying because according to the preliminary findings of the feasibility report, there is a 12 to 13 per cent decrease of the CST-Panvel corridor’s financial returns in the first year that the corridor will be operational.
The railways had decided to finance the CST-Panvel elevated corridor along with the state in a 51 per cent to 49 per cent ratio. But railway officials said the 51 percent from their end now works out to more than Rs 8,000 crore, which is more than was expected. To add insult to injury, the financial returns from fares expected have come down as well. “We expected a return of 55 per cent of the cost it will take to run the corridor in the first year that it will be operational, but now when we are actually crunching the numbers and preparing the final feasibility report, it seems the percentage has dropped to 42-43 per cent,” said a railway official on the condition of anonymity.
This means that the CST-Panvel project, which was once the ‘viable’ one in terms of completion, has become a source of worry for railway officials.
“The Virar corridor seemed to be more problematic since as a result of the state’s own Metro project from Colaba to Seepz, the railways has had to curtail the project in terms of starting from Churchgate, to now starting it from Bandra instead,” added the official. “Another reason for thinking that the CST-Panvel corridor was more feasible was that there is less land acquisition as compared to the Bandra–Virar corridor, and even if the acquisition is done to a great extent for the latter, the prices of the land in the western suburbs is much more than that on the Harbour and Navi Mumbai line,” he said.