MUTP 3-A gets state nod – MRVC to work on Project Designs

Approvals for key transport projects from the State government have set the ball rolling on much-needed enhancements to the city’s public transport system. MRVC expects a final approval from the Union cabinet in January, after which they can start the work on ground. The project is jointly funded by the state and the Indian Railways.

MUMBAI: The state government on Wednesday issued a government resolution (GR) giving its nod to Rs 54,777 crore worth of projects which are part of the Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP) 3A, including the ambitious CSMT-Panvel elevated fast corridor.

According to the existing plan, about Rs 14,000 crore of the entire project cost will be raised through loans from various banks while the remaining Rs 40,777 crore will be on a 50:50 cost-sharing basis between the state and the Indian Railways (IR).

With the state giving its nod to the Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP) 3A on Wednesday, the Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation (MRVC), the executing agency, will now start designing the projects. MRVC which is the nodal agency is all set to approach a consortium of banks, including the New Development Bank (NDB) and the Asian Development Bank, for the loan.

The state government’s share in the project will be about Rs 27,389 crore which will be split among various government agencies.

The GR is the first step towards getting approvals for the project. The next involves sending a proposal for sanction from the Railway Board, Niti Aayog, the external railway board and finally inter-ministries for consultation before a cabinet note is prepared and put before the cabinet at the Centre for its nod.

The GR issued by Maharashtra government also specifies the rehabilitation and relocation that the project will entail

Chairman and Managing Director of MRVC, RS Khurrana said, “We are now preparing to send a proposal to the Railway Board.”

The 21.3 km long CSMT-Panvel corridor which will have 11 stations of which eight will be elevated is estimated to have a ridership of eight lakh by 2021 which is then expected to rise to 13 lakh by 2041.

While urban planners have welcomed the approval, they feel the railways should have approached banks for the funding.

MRVC expects a final approval from the Union cabinet in January, after which they can start the work on ground. The project is jointly funded by the state and the Indian Railways.

MRVC officials said they will hire consultancies to come up with designs for Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT)-Panvel elevated corridor, upgrade and improvement of railway stations, and chalk out details of the Panvel-Virar suburban railway line, fourth railway line between Kalyan and Asangaon and third and fourth railway lines between Kalyan and Badlapur.

“The state nod is the first major development. We will now begin looking for consultancies to prepare designs and details of works. A final clearance from the Cabinet is expected in January,” said a senior MRVC official. “The CSMT-Panvel elevated corridor will be a crucial project as it will connect to the Navi Mumbai airport. All projects which have been included in the project are crucial to the city, as there is a population shift towards Kalyan and Navi Mumbai. However, the funding process should have been completed, as it will take long time. The project still has to get a final nod,” said urban planner Sulakshana Mahajan.

“All the works will benefit the suburban railway commuters,” said Lata Argade, vice-president, Railway Pravasi Mahasangh. MUTP-3A proposal will now be sent to the railway board, apex body for all zonal railways.

The board will prepare a final draft, including the detailed project report (DPR), and then send it to NITI Aayog. After their sanction, different ministries will conduct an extended board review. After a clearance from this board, the project will be sent to the Union cabinet for a final nod.

Reeling under the pressure of an ever-expanding city and its population, Mumbai’s public transport system is in dire need of an upgrade. But over the last month, crucial projects that have been in the pipeline for years have finally inched forward.

Earlier this week, the State Cabinet gave its sanction for a slew of rail infrastructure projects worth ₹54,777 crore under the Mumbai Urban Transport Project 3A (MUTP-3A), paving the way for further approvals at the Central level. And in November, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis approved the detailed project reports of three Metro lines.

These two were among a list of transport projects approved in the last few months. In all, over ₹2 lakh crore will be spent in the coming decade on projects that will provide the much-needed upgrade.

Metro on track

While several projects are still on paper and await approvals, work on some has started. The three Metro corridors — 2A, 7 and 3 — are in different stages of completion. The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) expects to throw open Metro 7 and Metro 2A next year. The Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Limited is planning to complete 80% of the tunnelling work for Metro 3 by December 2019 and aims to commission it by 2021.

MMRDA has also started preliminary works for Metro 2B and Metro 4 and will completely barricade roads by May 2019.

Bridging regional gaps

Work to strengthen the city’s connectivity with neighbouring cities and towns has also seen some progress. While MUTP-3A awaits a nod from the Centre, the Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation (MRVC) has completed 90% of the joint measurement surveys for three new railway corridors under the ₹10,947 crore MUTP 3: two new lines between Virar and Dahanu, a new rail corridor between Airoli and Kalwa, and a new line between Panvel and Karjat. “We hope to complete the surveys in a week, after which we will begin the process of land acquisition,” a senior MRVC official said.

The Mumbai Trans-Harbour Link, meanwhile, is also taking shape, and the general alignment will be visible by May.

The City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO) is working to commission the first phase of the ₹16,450-crore Navi Mumbai International Airport by December 2019. CIDCO MD Lokesh Chandra said that 65% land development work will be over by January and a contractor will soon be appointed to build the terminal building and runway.

Other key infrastructure projects that have started in the last few months include the Coastal Road being executed by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation and the Versova-Bandra Sea Link being executed by the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation. Geo-technical surveys for both are under way.

With Lok Sabha and Assembly elections slated for next year, the government is pushing to start or at least approve as many projects as it can. At a recent conclave, Mr. Fadnavis said development projects in the city and State would remain on paper unless their implementation was taken seriously. He said most of the projects were conceived 20 years ago, but had not progressed.

Judicious mix needed

Transport expert Ajit Shenoy said the Metro corridors were necessary as the railway corridors are bursting at its seams. He said, however, that the government needs to prepare a comprehensive mobility plan, which includes all forms of transport.

“While this government has done well in starting work on three corridors, it seems to think the Metro is the only solution to all problems. The transport in the city needs to have a judicious mix of all modes, which include buses,” he said.

He said the government and the municipal corporation have neglected the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport, which should be find a prominent place in the plans for the city’s mobility.