The new suburban railway corridor on Panvel-Karjat is finally inching forward but at a slow pace. Acquiring land for this rail corridor, which will now not only connect far ends of Raigad district in Mumbai’s Metropolitan Region, but will also spurt development in the region, has become an issue. The Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation (MRVC) is scouting for land that runs into acres and is either owned by private, government or it’s forest land.
It has been more than four years since this Rs 2,783 crore new suburban rail line got approved but since then it has been moving at a slow pace. The authorities are currently working on acquiring 32 hectares of land that falls on this 28 kms long rail corridor. Of these 9 hectares – equivalent to 6 football grounds – fall under forest land.
“We have received permission from the state government for acquiring forest land and the file has moved to the Centre for approval,” said a railway official on condition of anonymity. This would mean that trees falling in this alignment will be chopped though its actual numbers are yet to be counted.
As far as private and government land is concerned, the MRVC is trying to work out ways to rehabilitate project affected people with alternate accommodation, land plus compensation. Primary works on this rail line has begun wherever possible. The MRVC authorities will be constructing three tunnels, which incidentally will be the first suburban rail line in Mumbai, that shall have ballast less tracks.
“There will be three tunnels that will come on this corridor. We have called tenders for its boring using NATM technology,” said an official from MRVC. “These will be ballast less which will make it easy for maintenance.” The longest bridge will be more than 2.5 kms while other two will be less than 250 meters.
At present, a single line connects Panvel with Karjat traversing through the taluks of Panvel, Khalapur and Karjat and caters to Goods and long distance passenger trains. The suburban corridor will have five stations of Panvel, Chikale, Mohape, Chowk and Karjat and will pass through 58 bridges.
This is part of Rs 10,947 crore worth Mumbai Urban Transport Project-3 and was supposed to be ready by 2022. However, there has been substantial delay in taking forward this project that was approved in December 2016 and the expected deadline now is 2024.