Mumbai: Finally, it is ‘Achche Din’ for commuters in Navi-Mumbai. Almost 21 years after the project was announced, the railway authorities have commissioned a new suburban corridor on the Central Railway linking Nerul and Belapur in Navi Mumbai with Kharkopar in Ulwe.
The 12-km Nerul-Seawoods Darave-Belapur-Kharkopar corridor in Navi Mumbai was commissioned on Sunday by Railway Minister Piyush Goyal and Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. The 27-km-long project has come up at a cost of Rs 1,782 crore. The second phase, on which work is on, will stretch from Kharkopar to Uran, a coastal town in Raigad district. The project cost is being shared by the Railways and the City and Industrial Development Corporation in the 33:67 ratio.
Regular services on the corridor will start from Monday and link Ulwe in Navi Mumbai with Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) and Panvel on the Harbour route, besides Thane on the Trans-Harbour corridor. The rail administration had taken a decision in 1997, but the project has fructified after 21 years. ‘‘The work on the remaining 14.3-km stretch from Kharkopar to Uran is under way and is likely to be completed by 2020,” said Lokesh Chandra CIDCO MD.
Union Minister Goyal, while addressing the gathering, said the Pen-Panvel electrification work has been completed nine months before the deadline of July 2019. He also congratulated the Central Railway and CIDCO officials for working in tandem to complete the Nerul/Belapur-Kharkopar (Phase 1).
Anant Gite, local MLA, said they are now focusing on giving shape to ‘MahaMumbai’ by integrating all cities routes by different modes of transport. “The new line will augment the Harbour rail network facilitate expansion of suburban local trains till Raigad district. Once the project is complete, it will benefit the people of Navi Mumbai by providing them direct access to Uran town, the Jawaharlal Nehru Port and the newly developed area of Mumbai Metropolitan region, as well as Greater Mumbai.”
Residents, who are living here for the past seven years waiting for this project to start, are an excited lot. “I am very excited as it will reduce travelling time and benefit Kharkopar residents. Every day I spend nearly five hours travelling; now, the new service will reduce travel time by an hour,” said Sonal Gohil, a resident of Kharkopar.The CR will operate 40 services daily from Monday, of which 20 will run between Kharkopar and Nerul and the rest between Belapur and Kharkopar stations.