Rs 21,000-crore Churchgate-Virar rail corridor on track

With three major firms showing keen interest,the ball has been set rolling for the Rs 21,000-crore Churchgate-Virar elevated rail corridor for AC suburban service, the iconic project which is expected to change the face of the metropolis.

The 60 km-long double track elevated corridor will have 28 stations and capacity of running eight-coach AC trains in each direction with 90 seconds frequency.

Railways will rehabilitate about 1700 people who will be affected for the 60-km long elevated rail corridor project, a long-time demand of the locals, in the heart of the city.

“The cost of the relief and rehabilitation of the affected people will be borne by railways and it will be part of the project cost,” said Mahesh Kumar, General Manager of Western Railway.

Three bidders – GMR Infra, L&T and IL&FS Transportation have evinced interest in the project which aims to run AC suburban service on a PPP model.

The selected bidder will be responsible for designing, engineering, financing, procurement, construction, operation and maintenance of the project under a long-term concession agreement.

“We are working out details with the state government for signing the State Support Agreement with Maharashtra for the project,” Kumar said adding “a final view will be taken on the issue of floor space index (FSI) for the purpose of commercialisation of available land along the corridor.”

The agreement is crucial for the project as it entails the role of the state government in shifting utilities, acquiring additional land and other facilitation required for the mega project.

Earlier, the project was 62 km long but after the realignment it has been reduced to 60 km of which 20 km will be underground and rest will be elevated.

“We had to change the alignment to minimise the dislocation of some houses due to the project,” he said.

While 95 per cent land required for the project is with railways, the state government has to acquire only five per cent land for the mega project.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has also directed the Railways to take up the elevated rail corridor on a priority basis.

Once the agreement with the state is signed, the financial bidding will take place as the next step. “We are hopeful of awarding the contract this year,” said Kumar.


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