PMO orders Fresh Traffic Surveys for Mumbai Elevated Rail Corridor

Mumbai:  After six years in gestation and despite the Union Ministry of Railways appearing keen to see the project take off, the Rs 20,000-crore Mumbai Elevated Railway Corridor is now in danger of being derailed owing to differences of opinion between the Centre and the state government of Maharashtra. The Prime Minister’s Office has now ordered a fresh study, said a report.

Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, who was in Delhi on Wednesday, reportedly told the PMO that state government estimates indicated the project was not viable because there is a proposed Metro railway route along the same 63-km corridor from Churchgate to Virar. Fresh traffic surveys would now be essential, he indicated.

The report said: “A fresh traffic study now, when eight infrastructure majors, including Reliance, the Tatas, Larsen and Toubro and GMR, have already applied in the Request for Qualification stage, could mean reduced figures of expected returns for the private investors, apart from the inevitable delay. The commercial contract is supposed to be awarded in early 2014 and the bidders are supposed to be shortlisted by November end.”

The sale of bid documents had been scheduled for 27 November. A copy of the state support agreement would ideally have been provided to prospective bidders, but the state government has not indicated its willingness to sign the support agreement.

The project has already seen disagreements between the state and Centre on land to be given by the state government for the railway project which is essentially a Union government project.