Virar-Vasai-Panvel Railway Corridor caught in row over funding

MUMBAI: The Virar-Vasai-Panvel suburban corridor project has hit a fresh hurdle over funding pattern. Railways said it will pay 25% of the project cost and the rest should be borne by state.

According to the Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation proposal, the cost would be shared 5050 on the lines of Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP). Railways also want the project be executed under the suburban railway system policy “The project is unlikely to be executed if the funding pattern is tinkered with.

Also, the conditions laid down in the suburban rail system policy will not find favour with the state government,” said a senior railway official. For example, the policy states that the “complete cost of the land acquisition, leasing of railway land and resettlement and rehabilitation be met by state by either providing interest-free subordinate debt to the SPV or from its own sources”.

The official added, “The government is likely to write to the railway ministry saying the MUTP model is working fine for Mumbai, and hence, this project should not be evaluated on the suburban rail policy.”

The project, cleared by NITI Aayog, the planning body for Centre, had an Rs 10 lakh allocation in the 2017-18 railway budget. According to the feasibility report, about 4.6 lakh passengers would use the corridor in the 2021-22 and it the number will rise to about 17.8 lakh passengers by 2041-42 and 26.3 lakh by 2051-52.