Govt should play bigger role in Elevated Rail Corridor: Bansal

Union Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal Tuesday said the state government must play a bigger role in the execution of the Rs 21,000-crore Churchgate-Virar Elevated Rail Corridor.

The project has been pending for around two years now with the Maharashtra government yet to approve the final state support agreement (SSA).

“Some agreement has been reached yesterday. Some formalities are to be completed, following which a request for qualification will be invited,” Bansal said at a press conference. An SSA to implement the project was taking time, he said, adding, “The state has to play a bigger role in the execution of the project.”

The project to link Oval Maidan and Virar had received an in-principle approval by the state Cabinet last Tuesday. Envisaged as a Public-Private Partnership project on Design, Build, Finance, Operate and Transfer (DBFOT) basis, the project entails building a 63.27-km two-track corridor along the existing Churchgate-Virar section. While 42.72 km of this new corridor will be on the elevated track, 8.04 km would be underground and the remaining 12.52 km at grade (ground level).

Bansal inaugurated local train services on the 124-km Dahanu-Churchgate route on the 160th anniversary of the Indian Railways. He also inaugurated the Virar car shed on the occasion.

The new train services between Dahanu and Churchgate will go a long way in fulfilling the needs of the people in the area and to a large extent, help improve the economic conditions of tribals in the region. The minister said since Mumbai is the economic capital and contributes majorly to the GDP, it will always be given priority in provision of services and setting up infrastructure, especially for people from suburbs.

He said out of 2.3 crore railway commuters, 53 per cent came from suburban section. Of this, Mumbai suburban section accounted for nearly 61 per cent. Hence, this division will receive the maximum benefits from time to time, Bansal said.