Indian Railways is to introduce a new air-conditioned suburban train service in Mumbai

In a development that augurs well for city’s commuters, a meeting called by railway authorities to discuss the proposed Churchgate-Virar elevated corridor received warm response from prospective developers.

More than 20 companies, including some infrastructure giants,

participated in the meeting to discuss the project, which is expected to ease the strain on the congested suburban rail network.

“The road-show was mainly to explain requirements for the project to prospective bidders and to understand their suggestions before bidding takes place,” said Sharat Chandrayan, CPRO of Western Railway.

Infrastructure giants including Reliance infrastructure, Gammon, IL&FS, Essar, GMR and some others have shown interest in elevated corridor project, estimated to be worth Rs. 21,000 crore.

In Thursday’s meeting, representatives of the companies put out a wish list before the railway authorities.

On the list is a floor space index (FSI) of four, a fixed power tariff the way it is for Railways, help with environment and civic clearances, clarity on security management, soft loans and help with land acquisition.

A railway official said that the prospective bidders were told that little commercial development will be permitted at stations, as station access routes are already congested. Instead, commercial development will be permitted at eight open plots at Mumbai Central, Mahalaxmi, Jogeshwari, Lower Parel, Bandra, Santacruz, Andheri and Borivli.

The companies have also asked the Railways to acquire private land, which works out to around five% of total land required for the project.

They even expect the Railways to secure all environment and civic clearances.

“We have informed [the companies] that the Railways have signed a state support agreement with the Maharashtra government to address such issues,” the rail official added.

A representative of one of the companies told HT that the issue of security was raised in the meeting. Some prospective bidders asked the Railways to clarify if the developers will have to rope in private security, or if it would be managed by railway authorities.


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