MUMBAI: In a first, in past 15 years, a new rail corridor was thrown open by rail minister Piyush Goyal and Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Sunday. Several other rail-related services too were thrown open at the time even as the rail minister said that Rs 65,000 crore has been approved for many more rail infrastructure projects on the suburban network in Mumbai and its surrounding areas.
CM Fadnavis said that Raigad district would be the focal point of future development in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) and hence many more projects would come up in the area very soon.
"With the blessings of our visionary Prime Minister Narendra Modi and with the active support of Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, the decision of having an investment of a whopping Rs 65,000 crore in the last proposed budget has been approved. This will ensure upgradation of the suburban railway system of Mumbai and its adjacent areas," rail minister Piyush Goyal said as the newly built 12 km-long Kharkopar-Nerul-Belapur corridor on the harbour line of the Central Railway's suburban network was inaugurated.
Daily 40 services on this first phase of the 27km Nerul-Belapur-Uran corridor shall start from Monday. Though the first phase got delayed by about a year, work on the entire corridor is expected to be completed by December 2019, the authorities said.
The corridor connects Mumbai and it's satellite city of Navi Mumbai to the Ulwe node where the NaVi Mumbai International Airport is coming up. The next phase of the corridor shall extend the connectivity to JNPT port and Uran. Eight MEMU services between Vasai Road-Diva-Panvel-Pen, Six FOBs (foot over bridges), 41 escalators at 23 stations, 10 lifts at Six stations, half a dozen toilets at as many stations, 318 new ATVMs (Automatic Ticket Vending Machines) at 77 suburban stations, IP-based suburban train indicators at 10 stations, 206 additional CCTV cameras at six stations, two booking offices at Bhiwandi Road and Navy Road stations, raising of platform height to 900 mm at 273 platforms of suburban stations, one-megawatt solar power plant at EMU Carshed in Sanpada, land breaking for two new suburban railway stations between Kalyan and Kasara were the other services that were thrown open at the same program today.
In addition to these projects, 200 new AC locals would come to Mumbai Suburban Services, Goyal said. "Given the pace at which the infrastructure and public amenity works are being executed by the Railways, I believe that in the next four to four-and-a-half years, the suburban rail network of Mumbai, Navi Mumbai or Mahamumbai will see a complete metamorphosis," he added.
Fadnavis said that transport infrastructure is the backbone of development in the modern era and hence the entire MMR area will have to be considered as MahaMumbai while planning the transport infrastructure for this area.
He also reiterated that several stalled projects like adding rail tracks, electrification of existing corridors got immediate nods after 2014 which is why the work could be carried out rapidly. He also said that Rs 12,167 crore worth transport infrastructure projects have been cleared for the area and several more projects are in pipeline.