Mumbai elevated corridor plan on track, says railways

Written by Rajat Arora | New Delhi | Updated: Dec 5 2013, 10:53am hrs
Amid fears that the Rs 20,000-crore Mumbai elevated corridor project would go into cold storage after the PMO ordered a fresh traffic study for the same in November, the railways said the plan is still very much on track and the last date for the request for qualification (RFQ) has been pushed to January 31.

The national transporter has commissioned Rail India Technical and Economic Service (RITES), its engineering arm, to do a fresh study as instructed by the PMO.

RITES is expected to give its report in a month.

According to a railway board official, if the Maharashtra government agrees, after the new report, to sign the state support agreement (SSA), the contract would be awarded by May 2014.

The earlier date for awarding the contract of the 63-km railway project fixed by the PMO was January 31.

In an infrastructure review meeting chaired by PM Manmohan Singh in November, Maharashtra CM Prithviraj Chavan said that there should be a rethink on the project as the proposed Mumbai Metro would partially be on the same alignment as the elevated corridor. The feasibility study done by the national transporter a couple of years ago said the elevated corridor (from Virar to Oval Maidan) would have a ridership of 1.1 million in first year of its operations.

According to a study done by Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), both Mumbai Metro and elevated corridor are viable projects. So, saying that Mumbai Metro would impact footfalls of the elevated corridor is wrong, the railway board official added.

Eight infrastructure giants Reliance Infrastructure, Gammon India, Larsen and Toubro (L&T), Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services Ltd (IL&FS), GMR Infrastructure Ltd, Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles (CAF), Siemens AG and Tata Realty and Infrastructure have already applied for the project. The contract award deadline for the project, whose fate is uncertain given the current situation, was January 2014.