State agrees to terms, SSA to be inked in 15 days

With the state government finally agreeing to the modifications suggested by the railway authorities in the State Support Agreement (SSA) for the proposed Rs 21,000-crore elevated railway corridor between Oval Maidan and Virar, the document is ready to be signed in 15 days.

Last month, Railway Board chairman Vinay Mittal had met CM Prithviraj Chavan and senior government officials to discuss the project but there was no consensus on certain areas in the SSA.

"The state government has agreed to sign the SSA after the modifications were made by the railways. The state has accepted the terms and conditions," said Mahesh Kumar, General Manager, Western Railway.

He added: "The commissionaire will have to complete the project in five years."

The SSA could not be inked on October 15 as the state authorities pointed out that they had granted only in-principle nod and the terms and conditions included those in the agreement could not be met. They also indicated that the state would not be able to take up land acquisition and rehabilitation for the project.

A high-power committee was formed by the state to expedite railway projects crucial to Mumbai. The 63-kilometre Oval Miadan-Virar elevated corridor was announced in the 2008 railway budget. The techno-feasibility report for the project was submitted to the railways by RITES, a public enterprise, and French firm Systra three years ago. Of the 63 kilometres, 16.6 km is an underground stretch, 36.4 km is elevated and 10 km would run along the existing lines.

Over the past month, Gajendra Haldia, advisor, Planning Commission, Maharashtra had played a key role in convincing the government to accept the model SSA. It is in line with an SSA drafted by Central Government.

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