MRVC proposes curtailed Elevated Metro Rail Corridor from Andheri to Virar

Mumbai: Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation is pitching for a curtailed elevated corridor between Virar and Andheri, even though the railway board has shelved the initial project which was to originate from Churchgate.

The railway board formally withdrew the 60-km long elevated corridor between Churchgate and Virar earlier this year, after the state government did not show much interest in the project. A senior MRVC official said, “An elevated corridor between Andheri and Virar can be executed to reduce over-crowding on this stretch.” The 40-km long Andheri-Virar corridor is proposed to decongest the existing suburban corridor, besides road traffic. The official said, “We are keen to execute project if the state government is on board.”

MRVC earlier weighed building the corridor up to Bandra, as suggested by the state government. The official said, “There is paucity of land on this stretch to lay the track or build a pier. Also, a part of the stretch will have to be taken underground as the elevated track between Vile Parle and Santra Cruz would come in the ‘funnel zone’ of aircraft.”

WR carries more than 32 lakh passengers per day, while Andheri alone handles more than 2.5 lakh passengers daily. An MRVC official said, “Andheri has emerged as a major hub due to the presence of the service industry. Its growth is likely to increase further because of Metro services.” The MRVC official said, “We have proposed to build the revised project on an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) model. The cost of the project is estimated to be Rs 9,000 crore. Premium fares can be charged on this corridor so that fares are equivalent, if not more, to those charged by the Metro.”

The Churchgate-Virar elevated corridor was proposed to be built on a public-private-partnership model, for which it was necessary to allow the bidder to earn profit by exploring the commercial potential of land and airspace above the stations. This raised alarm bells as the state government feared it would become a real estate project instead of a transport project.