In the upcoming interim budget for the fiscal year 2024-2025, the Mumbai Suburban rail network is set to receive a substantial boost, with a projected 30% increase in funds allocated for railway projects. A transport expert said, "This financial commitment reflects the government's proactive stance to address the demands of Mumbai's commuters and develop the city's railway infrastructure."
Substantial increase from previous fiscal year's allocation
According to reliable sources, the Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation has requested around Rs1450 crore this year for several ongoing and proposed railway projects aimed at enhancing the city's suburban network. This marks a substantial increase from the previous fiscal year's allocation of Rs1101 crore by the central government.
The Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP), a crucial initiative aimed at improving the city's railway infrastructure, includes ongoing projects designed to alleviate the demands of Mumbai's commuters.
The projects being benefitted
These projects involve the quadrupling of the Virar-Dahanu Road section on Western Railway, the creation of a new suburban railway corridor between Panvel-Karjat on Central Railway, and the development of a new suburban corridor link between Airoli and Kalwa (elevated) on Central Railway. Other significant projects include the extension of the Harbour Line up to Borivali, the addition of 5th & 6th lines between Borivali and Virar, the construction of the 4th line between Kalyan-Asangaon, and 3rd and 4th lines between Kalyan-Badlapur.
Additionally, Kalyan Yard remodelling to segregate long-distance and suburban trains, and cab signalling systems are being introduced on the Harbour, Trans-Harbour, Main line between CSMT-Kalyan (Central Railways), and Churchgate-Virar section (Western Railway). Maintenance facilities for rolling stock, additional stabling lines, and station improvements are integral components of the MUTP.
A transport expert said, “The proposed interim budget is expected to earmark a 30% increase in funds for these projects, highlighting a commitment to the continued development of Mumbai's rail network. The significance of this boost cannot be understated, as it not only addresses the immediate needs of the city's commuters but also sets the stage for a more efficient and sustainable transportation system."
Funds allocated under MUTP
It's noteworthy that the funds allocated under MUTP are shared equally between the Central and State governments. If the Central Government allocates Rs 1450 crores for MUTP projects, the State government will also contribute an equal amount to the same account.
As Mumbai continues to evolve as a global financial and cultural hub, the need for a reliable and efficient public transportation system becomes increasingly crucial. A retired railway officer added, “The anticipated 30% surge in funding for railway projects under MUTP in the proposed interim budget is a positive stride towards addressing the pressing transportation needs of Mumbai.” He emphasised that this financial commitment not only reflects an understanding of the challenges faced by the city but also reinforces the government's commitment to fostering sustainable and accessible urban development.