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THE FIRST Budget post the Elphinstone Road station stampede on the Western Railway has made the highest allocation for foot overbridges in the city. The demand for grants for both the Central Railway (CR) and Western Railway (WR), released Tuesday, allocated Rs 880 crore to construct bridges and provide amenities for commuters. Both CR and WR will see construction of new foot overbridges in Mumbai division by the end of financial year 2018-19. While the CR received Rs 450 crore for constructing 42 bridges for the zones (21 for Mumbai suburban), the Western Railway has received Rs 430 crore for 43 bridges.

The allocated Rs 880 crore will be further utilised for renovation of old bridges, increasing height of platforms and adding shelter over platforms in suburban Mumbai. “Earlier, we used to get about Rs 30-40 crore for bridges. We have got Rs 430 crore. We have received more than expected amount for adding amenities. In the earlier budgets, we would not receive allocation for bridges at certain railway stations. Now it is upon us to decide how many bridges could be constructed,” said AK Gupta, General Manager, Western Railway.

“For the first time, an umbrella allotment has been made for works concerning bridges and additional amenities at stations. This forms the highest allotment till now. Usually, construction of bridges would hardly receive Rs 40 crore in the previous budgets,” a senior railway official said.
Officials added that providing funds under an umbrella amount gives more powers to the respective zonal general managers in executing works. Both CR and WR are seeing an increase in amount allocated under passenger amenities, which include upgrading stations with toilets, lifts, escalators and other facilities.

“Last year, we received hardly Rs 93 crore for passenger amenities, which was increased to Rs 141 crore after we approached the Railway Board. This year, we have been allowed Rs 172 crore for passenger amenities. We are sure of receiving more if a demand is made,” a senior CR official said. The WR has also received a funding of Rs 171 crore for passenger amenities this year. Mumbai suburban will also see up to 251 escalators at railway stations by the end of next financial year.

Development of 35 railway stations on both CR and WR received a proposed amount of up to Rs 1000 crore in the budget. Development of stations under public private partnership will allow railways to commercially exploit the space around stations while upgrading facilities. “We are yet to decide which stations can be classified under the category. We will prepare a report to identify stations needing maximum work,” Gupta added. The Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation (MRVC) will construct 50 bridges. The budget has also allocated up to Rs 1,038 crore for projects under MUTP -III which include a new suburban railway corridor between Panvel-Karjat on the CR (double line) and a new suburban corridor between Airoli- Kalwa (elevated). Other important projects under MUTP-II and MUTP-II C have also received a total sanction of Rs 367 crore.

“Projects under MUTP-III A which include procurement of 210 air-conditioned (AC) locals in the city, elevated corridor between Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT)-Panvel on the harbour line and improvement of 18 stations have received a token allotment of Rs 1 crore. This refers to an official sanction for the umbrella project. The MRVC can now officially begin with the required preparatory works,” RS Khurana, MD, MRVC said.

The Communication Based Train Control (CBTC) project, which will add frequency of services on harbour line, and main lines on the CR and WR, is a major project that received sanction under MUTP III A. “Its initial implementation could begin with the harbour line. As this will be the first time we will be working on this technology, we may appoint financial consultants to understand nuances of the technology,” Sanjay Singh, MRVC spokesperson said. Also, Maharashtra received a 31 per cent additional funding in this year’s railway budget. As compared to Rs 4,418 crore allotted in the railway budget of 2017-18, the budget has allotted Rs 5,802 crore for projects that include adding new lines, doubling of lines and electrification.

The Parel coach complex project which will allow for stabling of passenger trains in the station has received a funding of Rs 193 crore. Also, Rs 356 crore has been allotted for adding CCTV cameras in trains.

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