MUMBAI: Under pressure to complete the laying of fifth and sixth rail lines between Thane and Diva by the March 2019 deadline, the Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation (MRVC) has undertaken fresh efforts to speed up the process for getting permission from the forest department for constructing a flyover, by cutting mangroves near Mumbra station.
Acting on the railway board chairman Ashwani Lohani’s directive to complete the project by the set deadline during his Mumbai visit earlier this week, the MRVC has written to the forest department for permission to build a flyover in the area under mangrove cover. “We have started perusing the issue with the forest department freshly,” said a senior MRVC official.
MRVC officials said they have written to the Nagpur-based office of state forest department for permission. On the basis of their reply, the high court will grant permission for cutting mangroves to pave way for the 400 metre-long flyover.
Originally, the MRVC had planned to construct tunnels cutting Parsik hill adjacent to the existing tunnels on slow corridors, but due to some technical reasons, the authorities were forced to replace it with a flyover, for which cutting of mangroves is necessary.
According to MRVC officials, it will take at least six months to build the new flyover after getting the permission.
The project for laying fifth and sixth rail lines between Thane and Diva, which was sanctioned in 2008, is a part of Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP 2B). The project will help the railways segregate outstation and suburban train operation between Kurla and Kalyan stations, by removing the bottleneck. Six lines already exist between Kurla-Thane and Diva-Kalyan.
The new lines will be parallel to the slow line between Thane and Diva. Once completed, these lines will be used for fast locals, whereas existing lines passing through Parsik tunnel will be used exclusively for outstation trains, the late arrival of which often affect the punctuality of locals.
The lines between Thane and Diva are being constructed by the MRVC and have a deadline of March 2019. The initial cost of the project was stated to be at ₹130 crore. However, the present cost is nearly ₹420 crore.