Eyeing revenue, railways starts spade work to develop land in Mumbai

The Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation (MRVC) has begun a survey to find out how portions of land owned by the railways on the city’s suburban network can be commercially developed.

The Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation (MRVC) has begun a survey to find out how portions of land owned by the railways on the city’s suburban network can be commercially developed.

The study would not only assess the market situation for development but also the impact it would have on the existing infrastructure like roads and underground utilities.

The survey, called the ‘best use option’ study, is expected to take six to seven months to be completed because its scope is extensive, said officials.

The first five plots the MRVC is looking at are in Mulund (West), Bhandup (East), Thane, Chinchpokli and Currey Road.The railways has almost 430 million square metres of land across the country. The officials said the survey is being conducted as the railway ministry is considering the view that the railways must commercially exploit its land to gets its dismal balance sheets back in the black.

“It is a desperate situation for the railways. It needs to run more trains every year because of the annual rise in passengers. Many of these run on diesel which is bleeding the railways. Second, staff salaries continue to rise. In such a situation, looking at commercially exploiting land instead of allowing them to get encroached due to lack of activity is important,” said an official.

Central Railway alone has some 4.7 lakh square metres of land either encroached or under litigation in Mumbai.

Officials said the survey is looking at Central Railway areas because the Western Railway lands are being locked in for the elevated corridor between Oval Maidan-Churchgate-Virar.

“The elevated corridor project would require commercial development of land to allow the private participant to recover costs. So around 1.4 million sqft of railway land between Churchgate and Virar are being held back as part of the elevated corridor calculations,” said an official.

http://www.dnaindia.com/mumbai/1828260/report-eyeing-revenue-railways-starts-spade-work-to-develop-land-in-mumbai

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