Seven new lines, covering 3,123 kilometres and several other projects, have been sanctioned by the government for Maharashtra, in the Union Budget 2017-18 presented by finance minister Arun Jaitley. This year, the Railway Budget was incorporated in the general budget after a gap of over 90 years. According to officials, Maharashtra has got budgetary allocations to the tune of Rs 5,958 crores for upcoming fiscal years, which is 408% higher than the average allocation of last five years. Railway officials welcomed the budget, saying the allocations made for new projects were ‘unprecedented’ and ‘more than expected’.
The Pink Book of the Railway Budget put up on the Ministry of Railways’ website, provides the detailed list of projects. The Pink Book is an official record of Indian Railways, which lays down the arrangement of fund allotment to different railway projects.
Out of seven new lines, four big ticket-projects are:
- Fast elevated corridor between CST to Panvel (55 kms, with initial cost of Rs 14,525 crores).
- Vasai-Virar-Panvel corridor (72-km new suburban corridor, with initial cost of Rs 8,787 crores).
- 3rd and 4th suburban lines between Pune and Lonavala (64 kms, with initial project cost of Rs 4,253 crores).
- Bandra-Virar elevated rail corridor – Phase 1 (42 kms, with initial cost of Rs 762 crores).
The other three new railway lines are:
- Jeur-Ashti (78 kms, Rs 1,560 crores).
- Phaltan-Pandharpur (105 kms, Rs 1,149 crores).
- Hatkanangale-Ichalkaranji (8 kms, Rs 160 crores).
Besides, four railway electrification projects of in different sections of the state, have also been sanctioned. In addition to this, Rs 148 crores for traffic facility works, Rs 636 crores for metropolitan transport planning have been allocated for the suburban section of Mumbai. Survey for 13 new railway lines have been proposed with an initial allotment of Rs 6.68 crores. Thirty new ROBs (road over bridges) and 23 RUBs (road under bridges) are also planned to be constructed with a total cost of Rs 691.38 crores, in which the Railways would bear Rs 331.91 crores, while the rest would be borne by the state government.
Shakuntala Railway, a narrow gauge railway line operated by private owners, has also been allotted Rs 22 crores for its upgradation and conversion into broad gauge. “In terms of monetary allocations, this year’s budget is unprecedented. This will eventually transform the mass transportation scenario of the state and Mumbai, especially in the view of the different metro rail projects being executed,” said a senior Central Railway (CR) official, on the condition of anonymity.