By Dilip Chaware
The Maharashtra government has decided to infuse over Rs.15000 crore in Mumbai’s two rail projects with a view to completing them as early as possible. The progress of the two projects had been held up over the past two and a half years, resulting in substantial cost and time escalation. The Bullet Train project originally was to be ready by December 2023 and the Mumbai Metro-3 project’s scheduled commissioning date was 2024.
The Bullet Train project, envisaged by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is being developed to create a superfast corridor between Mumbai and Ahmedabad. As per the latest decision, it will be provided with over Rs.5000 crore by the state government. The state has become a shareholder, too, in the project, which will need Maharashtra to invest Rs.5000 crore as its holding. Gujarat will also invest the same amount as its share. The Centre’s share will be Rs.10,000 crore.
The project has started moving as tender advertisements have been issued to invite bids for the construction of the underground terminus of the project in Bandra Kurla Complex.
Similarly, the government has sanctioned Rs.10,000 crore for early completion of the Mumbai Metro-3 project, that will be mostly underground between Colaba in south Mumbai to SEEPZ in western suburbs. The cost has gone up since the project was moving at a snail’s pace earlier. Earlier cost estimate for the project was Rs.23316 crore, which is now jacked up to Rs.33405 crore. Now that the fund crunch is going to be over, there is optimism that at least some sections of the project will be ready for commissioning in the near future.
As a result of all these factors, the state government’s share will increase to Rs.3699 crore and that of the Japan International Cooperation Agency to Rs.19924 crore. The Metro-3 network will have 26 underground stations while one will be above ground. While tunnelling for the entire route is almost complete, work on the underground stations is largely done.
A veteran journalist, formerly Special Correspondent, The Times of India, Mumbai.