Up to Rs 65,000 crore has been approved for a host of rail infrastructure projects on the suburban network in Mumbai and its surrounding areas, said Railway Minister Piyush Goyal on Sunday.
These projects, investment for which were proposed in this year's Union budget, include new works and upgradation of existing facilities on the busy network, which serves as the transport lifeline of the metropolis, he said.
Mr Goyal said the Maharashtra government has been actively supporting these infrastructure projects, which seek to improve transportation and passenger amenities.
"With the blessings of our visionary Prime Minister Narendra Modi and with active support of Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, the decision of having an investment of a whopping Rs 60,000 to Rs 65,000 crore in the last proposed budget has been approved.
"This will ensure upgradation of the suburban railway system of Mumbai and its adjacent areas," he said.
"Given the pace at which the infrastructure and public amenity works are being executed by the Railways, I believe that in the next four to four-and-a-half years, the suburban rail network of Mumbai, Navi Mumbai or Mahamumbai will see a complete metamorphosis," Mr Goyal said.
He was speaking after commissioning of the new Nerul- Seawoods Darave-Belapur-Kharkopar suburban rail corridor in Navi Mumbai. This is the first phase of the 27km Nerul-Belapur-Uran corridor on the Harbour route of the Central Railway.
Mr Goyal along with Mr Fadnavis commissioned the first phase of the corridor, that comprised 12km out of the 27km rail line, at the Kharpokar railway station.
Regular services on the new corridor will start from Monday and link Ulwe node in Navi Mumbai with Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus and Panvel on the Harbour route besides Thane on the Trans-Harbour corridor.
Addressing the gathering, Mr Goyal said Mr Fadnavis has set a target of Maharashtra becoming a trillion-dollar economy by 2025.
The Indian Railway will play a crucial role in achieving this target, he said.
"Be it the leaders of my own party (the BJP) or from the Shiv Sena, or public and passengers representatives, they keep following rail projects regularly with me which sometimes annoys me also.
"Nevertheless, it gives me pleasure, too, as they are doing their job for improving amenities," Mr Goyal said.
He also inaugurated induction of eight MEMU services between Vasai Road-Diva-Panvel-Pen and other passenger amenities.
These amenities included six FOBs (foot over bridges), 41 escalators at 23 stations, 10 lifts at six stations, half a dozen toilets at as many stations, 318 new ATVMs (Automatic Ticket Vending Machines) at 77 suburban stations.
Other amenities were IP-based suburban train indicators at 10 stations, 206 additional CCTV cameras at six stations, two booking offices at Bhiwandi Road and Navde Road stations, raising of platform height to 900 mm at 273 platforms of suburban stations as well as one megawatt solar power plant at EMU Carshed in Sanpada