MUTP-3 on slow track – World Bank to give decision by December 2018

Of the estimated cost of ₹10,948-crore, ₹6,000 crore has been sought from the World Bank. Till date, no clarity on funds; project aimed at improving connectivity in Mumbai Metropolitan Region is stuck.

MUMBAI: Almost two years after getting Cabinet nod, the Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP) 3, a project aimed at boosting rail connectivity in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR), is stuck for want of funds.

Of the estimated cost of ₹10,948-crore, ₹6,000 crore has been sought from the World Bank. According to the Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation (MRVC), the nodal agency responsible for executing major infrastructure projects related to suburban railways, the World Bank is studying and reviewing the projects. “Talks with World Bank over the funding are going on. We are expecting a final decision by December,” said RS Khurana, Chairman and Managing Director, MRVC.

Railway officials feel MUTP-3 may miss its 2022 deadline, despite major infrastructure projects being expedited. “After we get an official nod from the World Bank, we will take a minimum of nine months to finish tendering, issue work orders and complete other formalities. Although a few parts of the project might begin, the main work is likely to start only by the end of 2019. Meeting the deadline seems difficult,” said a senior MRVC official.

MRVC is yet to start land acquisition for the project, which includes quadrupling of Virar-Dahanu Road section (63km), suburban corridor between Panvel and Karjat (28km), elevated corridor link between Airoli and Kalwa (3km), among others.

The MRVC has expedited the work on the Panvel-Vasai-Virar corridor and included it in under MUTP-3. All these corridors will provide connectivity to areas witnessing substantial real estate development around the new international airport and is expected to decongest the city. However, without rail connectivity, it will be difficult to populate the many smart cities that are coming up in these areas.

While MUTP-3 is delayed, the ₹55,000-crore next phase, MUTP-3A, has been sent to the railway board for nod in June. The project will go to Niti Aayog, after the Union cabinet gives final nod. The deadline is 2023.