The construction works of 7-foot overbridges (FOBs), including two at Badlapur, one each at Ghatkopar, Kopar, Vangani, Neral and Vithalwadi, are lagging due to a lack of funds allocation from the state government, stated the rail officials, while adding that these infras are being jointly funded by the Union railway ministry and state.
Coming on the suburban railway network of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region, these FOBs are being primarily constructed to curb the trespassing menace. Elaborating on how the paucity of funds is impacting the project, the official said that construction of Kopar FOB started in 2019, and was to be completed in the next two years. "Initially, the construction work of this foot over the bridge was badly hit due to nationwide lockdown. Subsequently, the work gained pace, but it was again hit by
crises of funds," the officials said, adding that remaining work could be completed before the monsoon if the fund crises get resolved.
Similar is the case with the rest of the FOBs whose construction started after the second Covid-19 wave and was scheduled to be completed in the current fiscal. “But now it seems difficult because to date just 20 per cent of works have been completed at Neral, Badlapur, Vithalwadi and Vangani. Whereas, only preparatory work could be finalised for the Ghatkopar FOB,” the officials apprised.
Speaking about the costs of these mammoth projects, a senior official said, "Overall cost of these 7 FOBs stands around Rs 100 crore. The expenditure is supposed to be shared by the Union railway ministry and state government in a 50:50 ratio.”
The railway minister has already released its share which is being used for keeping the construction works going. “However, the funds are on the verge of being dried up if the state government doesn’t release its share this month, the works will be stalled," added the official.
The delay will also cause an exponential rise in the cost of projects, worrying an official who is monitoring the works. The construction works of these 7 FOBs are being executed by the Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation, a joint entity of the state government and railway ministry.