Elevated Churchgate-Virar corridor still stuck

The second consecutive attempt of railway board chairman Vinay Mittal to push the proposed Rs 21,000-crore Churchgate-Virar elevated corridor failed on Monday as the state support agreement (SSA) for the project could not be inked at a crucial meeting with Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan.

"State authorities said they have granted in-principle nod for the project but the terms and conditions in the agreement could not be fulfilled. They indicated that state would not be able to acquire land and rehabilitate the project affected people," said a senior railway official.

He added that a detailed presentation on the project was made before the CM, Finance Minister Jayant Patil, Minister for Relief and Rehabilitation Patangrao Kadam and senior government officials.

A presentation on the fast corridor along the CST-Panvel route was also made during the two-hour meeting. The 49-km stretch, known as the Harbour line, has 580 services daily. With the expansion of Navi Mumbai, JNPT and IT companies in the region, there is a proposal to build a fast corridor along the route, 31.6 km of which will be elevated and 12.4 km will run parallel to existing lines. The bridge over the Vashi creek will be 4.3 km.

A proposal to extend an arm of the corridor to the Navi Mumbai International Airport (NMIA) was also put forth at the meeting. This route, too, requires land acquisition and rehabilitation of slumdwellers along the Wadala-Mankhurd stretch. Trains running at 110 km per hour are expected to bring down the travel time from the current hour-and-a-half (from CST to Panvel) to 50 minutes.

A German consultation firm made a preliminary presentation for the Mumbai-Pune-Nagpur high-speed railway project, under which bullet trains running at 350 km per hour have been proposed. A techno-feasibility report on the project is being considered.

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