Mumbai: An Italian firm has been entrusted with the task of preparing a detailed project report (DPR) for Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority’s (MMRDA) proposed light metro rail between Thane-Kalyan-Bhiwandi.
The MMRDA had scrapped plans to have a monorail corridor between Thane-Kalyan-Bhiwandi after which a feasibility study conducted by the Italian firm D’Appolonia and Tata Consulting Engineers (TCE) on behalf of the MMRDA had suggested the introduction of Light Rail Transit System (LRTS) in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR).
“The same Italian firm which was involved in carrying out a feasibility study will now prepare a detailed project report for the same. The study will also look at if LRTS is actually feasible in terms of alignment, ridership as the stretch between Thane-Kalyan-Bhiwani is densely populated owing to haphazard development in the region; attaining right of way (ROW) will be a task,” said a senior MMRDA official.
A light metro is cross between a monorail and metro. It is an urban rail set-up with low passenger capacity as compared to a monorail or metro.
“Earlier, we had plans to assign the work of preparing the DPR to the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), but its team is already involved with MMRDA directly and indirectly in implementing the other four proposed metro corridors and it will become too much for one organisation with limited team members in Mumbai to handle so much work at once,” said an official.
The Congress-NCP government had scrapped plans to have a monorail in the MMR, citing that the studies conducted in 2014 showed the corridor was not likely to be viable and would have low ridership. It had also taken into consideration the failure of the phase-1 monorail constructed between Wadala and Chembur.
Indian Railways to take Rs 11,000 crore loan for MUTP-III
The Railways on Sunday declared that it would repay the loan of its share of the Mumbai Urban Transport Project III (MUTP) at seven per cent annually until 2038. It will be taking a loan from the World Bank for its share of the project costs. The state government and the Railways will be sharing the expenditure for the project.
The move was made after the Niti Aayog asked the Railways how it plans to repay the debt as the Mumbai suburban has been running at a great loss.
According to the latest estimates, MUTP III will cost approximately Rs 11,000 crore and the Railways will be contributing Rs 5,500 crore to it after borrowing it from the World Bank. Interestingly, the bank had cracked the whip on the Railways last year, when its managing director Mulyani Indrawati visited the city and said that unless the Mumbai suburban is made safer, the loan will not be approved.
However, railway officials said even if the conditions were met, the arrangement of loan repayment is being reviewed by both the railway board and the ministry as they find it “overwhelming”. “The problem is that every MUTP is getting costlier and going by the debt that the Railways is under, it is being seen as we have bitten off more than we can chew,” said a railway official under the condition of anonymity. He further said, “In fact MUTP II-whose works are still underway, was comparatively worth Rs 4,000 crore. Now at Rs 11,000 crore, the expenditure over MUTP III is more than double the cost of part II. And the EMI will be paid off in two decades.”