Stops at Vile Parle and Mahalaxmi too; depot likely near Naigaon Station
Mumbai: The Ministry of Railways on Monday deliberated on some big changes in its plan for the Oval Maidan-Churchgate-Virar elevated corridor, for the benefit of travellers.
It was reliably learned that there would be two stations within a 2-km stretch at Virar, to be called Virar South and Virar North. The Virar South station will be located at the southern end of the existing Virar station and nearer to the newly-constructed car shed. Virar North will be constructed about a kilometre beyond Virar station.
The ministry also decided to incorporate stations at Mahalaxmi and Vile Parle, on the insistence of the Planning Commission. The Planning Commission noted that Mahalaxmi would have a large number of commuters on account of the numerous offices that continue to come up there.
Also, it is the nearest stop to the Jacob Circle-Wadala-Chembur monorail system.
Originally, no station was planned at Vile Parle on account of the restrictions on the height of structures in the airport area. But as Vile Parle is now in the undergound stretch, there is no issue any more and there will be a station here. “We must allow people from the airport to use the elevated rail system. So there will be a station at Vile Parle. It also makes better business sense,” an official said.
A third issue was the depot proposed on salt pan land at Mira Road. The railways found, during a survey, that much of the land was on lease to private parties and acquiring these plots could involve legal hurdles. Therefore, the railway board has proposed setting up the depot near Naigaon station.
It was earlier reported that the Ministry was making efforts to push the Rs.20,000 Crore project ahead with a requisition for Rs.1240 Crore to the Planning Commission to carry out “enabling works”. This is about 6% of the project cost.
This includes removing structures that stand in the way of the elevated corridor plan and shifting underground utilities that could hamper construction of pillars for the elevated bridge. The BMC, Tata Power, Reliance, MTNL, BSNL, Mahanagar Gas and GAIL are among at least 12 agencies that will be involved in this work.
The sanction for this work would help to assure private firm interested in the project that the plans are on course. Six private firms have lined up for the Request for Qualification (RFQ) which is expected to be completed by November 27. RFQ will examine the eligibility and capability of the firm to undertake the project.
The Planning Commission insisted on stations at Mahalaxmi and Vile Parle
An issue that also came up was about the depot that was proposed on salt pan land at Mira Road. Much of this land is on lease to private properties and could involve legal hurdles.
Therefore, the depot would be set up near Naigaon station.