MUTP-III okayed with riders

Niti Aayog gave an “in-principle approval“ to the Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP)-III, which promises to augment passenger-carrying capacity on both Western Railway and Central Railway. But the approval will come at a cost for commuters as the conditions state the railways will have to go in for “fare reforms“, implying “automatic and regular revision of fares in tandem with the price index“.
The nod comes with other important riders that require the railways to introduce a communications-based train control system on at least one suburban corridor which, officials say , can lead to a significant increase in the frequency of services. While granting approval, a Niti Aayog communication said, “The need for fare correction has been argued in the railways’ own document, such as in the white paper on Mumbai suburban. Niti Aayog has shared some best practices on automatic fare revision in Maharashtra and Gujarat.” The unpublished white paper prepared by the Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation (MRVC) has estimated a loss of Rs.1,400 crore for suburban railways.
Asking the railways to take a cue from diesel subsidy reform, Niti Aayog said, “A phased price increase can be effective in limiting economic disruption and immediate political reluctance of the opposition.“
MUTP-III includes the Airoli-Kalwa rail link project, which aims to provide direct connectivity between Kalyan and Navi Mumbai and run 40 services on the route.
It also includes quadrupling of the Virar-Dahanu corridor to help segregate mail, express and suburban traffic.
Doubling of the Panvel-Karjat route will be undertaken too.
Other than a trespassingcontrol project, MUTP-III will now include CBTC or a motorman's cab-signalling technology on Harbour line.
This component of the project will cost Rs.4,082 crore.As a result, the cost of MUTPIII will accordingly increase to close to Rs.15,000 crore from Rs.10,000 crore.
If the cab-signalling technology is introduced, frequency of trains will increase from every four minutes to two minutes. This will lead to less overcrowding on Harbour line. Based on thie success of this experiment, the cab-signalling technology will be implemented on the main lines of WR and CR as well.
The railways is expected to request the department of economic affairs to begin loan negotiations with World Bank.

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