The much awaited 5th and 6th line project between Parel and Kurla on the Central Railway is making steady progress, with authorities targeting completion within the next two years. The project holds significant promise for commuters, as it is expected to pave the way for the introduction of approximately 200 additional local services from Parel.
An official from the Central Railway (CR) expressed optimism about the project's advancement, highlighting that approximately 25% of the physical work has already been completed.
Land acquisition in advanced stage
Land acquisition for the laying down of the additional two tracks between Parel and Kurla is in an advanced stage, with only 0.43 hectares of land near Swadeshi Mill in Kurla remaining to be acquired, according to CR officials. The process of acquiring the Swadeshi Mill land is currently underway.
"Work on the 5th and 6th line project between Parel and Kurla is in full swing, and we are targeting to complete the project within the next two years said an official of CR adding that traget date is depend on the rehabilitation of project affected families by the state government.
Project cost revised to ₹1337 crore, work going on in two phases
The project, initially sanctioned in 2008 with an estimated cost of ₹890.89 crore, has been revised to ₹1337 crore. It is being executed in two phases: Phase-1 spans from Kurla to Parel, covering a distance of 10.1 km, while Phase-2 covers the 7.4 km stretch from Parel to CSMT (Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus).
"Significant progress has already been made during Phase-1, including the commissioning of the Parel Suburban terminus, construction of a new double discharge platform, a wide FOB (foot overbridge) equipped with a lift and escalator, an additional FOB, two stabling lines, and an RRI (Route Relay Interlocking) building. Construction of two FOBs at Sion and the Kurla RRI building has also been completed" said an official of CR.
In the ongoing work between Kurla and Parel, officials stated that the construction of a rail flyover at Kurla for the Harbour line, the Sion station building, one new platform, and the extension of an existing platform at Sion station is underway. Moreover, two out of three service buildings at the Matunga workshop have been completed, while the construction of the third building is in progress.
Challenges faced by the project
However, the project has faced delays due to various challenges. The closure and reconstruction of the Sion Road Overbridge (ROB) have been hampered by the non-granting of a No Objection Certificate (NOC) by the Traffic Police. The NOC is crucial for ensuring the safety of commuters, and its resolution is pending.
Another obstacle to the project's progress is the non-shifting of project-affected families near Dharavi by the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA). The relocation and rehabilitation of over 700 project affected families are necessary for the project to proceed, and delays are expected until their successful resettlement.
"Efforts to expedite the rehabilitation process have seen limited success, with only 41 out of the 758 affected families being resettled and rehabilitated" said sources.
More space needed at Dadar for 2 new platforms
Asked about the space for laying down two additional track at Dadar, officials said, Dadar poses a unique challenge as 21 structures belonging to the Western Railway need to be relocated to create space for the construction of two new platforms on the west side.
"To facilitate the relocation, the Central Railway (CR) has agreed to pay Rs. 21 crore to the WR. The tender process for the relocation is currently in progress. In exchange, the central railway has transferred 5042 sqm of land at Curry Road Depot to the WR, as compensation for obtaining 8554.721 sqm of land at Dadar," he said.
Requirements of Phase 2
Additionally, in the Phase-2 stretch from Parel to CSMT, the project requires the acquisition and demolition of 11 multi-story buildings and the resettlement of their occupants. A proposal for an alternate alignment has been submitted to the Maharashtra government for formal approval, which is currently pending due to the complexities involved.