Poll vault: Railway amenities, infrastructure get green light

The Union minister announced a range of amenities, including 180 new escalators, new stations and trains to Alibaug.

With an eye on the general elections, Union railway minister Piyush Goyal on Sunday announced a range of amenities for Mumbai’s train commuters – 180 new escalators; a station, Chikhloli, between Ambernath and Badlapur stations; 28-km line between Kalyan and Murbad in Thane district, trains to Alibaug, a popular weekend destination, stations on the Pen-Thal line, among others.

Goyal, along with chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and other dignitaries, inaugurated the Parel mini-terminus, built to decongest Dadar station, at a cost of ₹51 crore under the Mumbai Urban Transport Project. The railway minister also green-lighted the first of 32 trains and 15-coach trains that will ply from Parel terminus daily. “Mumbai is getting a new terminus after 20-30 years. Of the 2.25 crore passengers, one-third are on the suburban section. Despite that, it has faced injustice for the past 50-60 years,” said Goyal.

At the function at CSMT, the Railway Land Development Authority and Dharavi Development Authority also signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to hand over 45-acre railway land for Dharavi revamp. “Our railway staffers, who have been living in 70-year-old homes will get new homes and the entire area will see development. The Maharashtra government and railways have taken a very important decision,” he said.

Fadnavis said that Dharavi redevelopment wouldn’t be possible without railway land, as rehabilitation of 50,000 people is a huge task. The process would have continued for 25-30 years. “If we give our land for the project, we will get a share in the profit. It will help complete the project in seven years,” said the CM.

While laying the foundation stone for Chikhloli, Goyal said, “A new station has been approved on the Mumbai suburban network after years. It will reduce the distance between Ambernath and Badlapur and give people respite from walking on tracks. Affordable housing in the area, too, will get a boost.”

The railway minister said infrastructure projects worth ₹20,000 crore are already on in Mumbai and project worth ₹55,000 crore have got nod. “Some of them are elevated to overcome the constraint of land acquisition,” Goyal said.

The 180 new escalators are only for Mumbai suburban, he said, adding that the 170 lifts and around 260 new foot overbridges show the momentum of progress of the Modi government.

Fadnavis said Goyal approved ₹750-crore Kalyan-Murbad railway line in the morning and also a dozen of long-distance trains. According to railway officers, the 28-km long line will have four stations and will connect Murbad via Ulhasnagar station. It will have seven tunnels.

He also said that Modi government has “incredibly” improved Mumbai’s suburban network in the past five years. He said that within a year they plan to implement single-ticketing system for all modes of transport. “MUTP-3 and MUTP-3A will change the face of Mumbai and increase the carrying capacity of the suburban lines drastically,” he said, adding Fadnavis was one of the best chief ministers Maharashtra has seen.

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