Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday (Feb 18) inaugurated two additional railway lines connecting Thane and Diva today via video conferencing.
There are 6 tracks between Kurla to Thane and Diva to Kalyan. The missing link in the 5th and 6th lines between Thane and Diva has now been commissioned which will result in the effective utilisation of 6 lines between Kurla/Lokmanya Tilak Terminus and Kalyan stations.
The two additional railway lines connecting Thane and Diva have been built at the approximate cost of Rs 620 crores and features a 1.4 km long rail flyover, 3 major bridges, 21 minor bridges. These lines will significantly remove the interference of long-distance train’s traffic with suburban train’s traffic in Mumbai. These lines will also enable the introduction of 36 new suburban trains in the city. The project is part of Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP 2B)
Sanctioned under Mumbai Urban Transport Project-II with equal cost-sharing between the Ministry of Railways and the Government of Maharashtra. The work surmounted challenges of forest clearance, land acquisition hurdles and limited working window in the busy suburban section.
According to the Railways, Kalyan is the main junction of the Central Railway. The traffic coming from the Northside and Southern sides of the country merge at Kalyan and moves towards CSMT (Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus). Out of the four tracks between Kalyan and CSTM, two tracks were used for slow local trains and two tracks for fast local, Mail Express and Goods trains.
To segregate suburban and long-distance trains, two additional tracks were planned.
PM Modi also flagged off two suburban trains of the Mumbai Suburban Railway. Governor and Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Union Railway Minister were among those present on the occasion.
The Prime Minister started his address by paying tributes to the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj whose Janam Jayanti falls on February 19. The Prime Minister called Shivaji Maharaj India’s pride, identity and protector of India’s culture.
Greeting Mumbaikar on the fifth and sixth rail lines connecting Thane and Diva, the Prime Minister said that these lines will bring ease of life for the residents of the ever-mobile metropolitan. The Prime Minister underlined four direct benefits of the two lines.
The PM said that efforts are underway to add another additional 400 km fresh railway network in the Mumbai suburban system, including in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region to boost the capacity.
Firstly, separate lines for local and express trains; secondly, trains coming from other states will not have to wait for the passing of local trains; thirdly, mail/express trains can be run without much obstruction in Kalyan to Kurla section and, finally, Kalwa Mumbra commuter will not be troubled due to blockage every Sunday.
He said that these lines and 36 new local trains on the central railway lines which are mostly AC are part of the central government’s commitment to expanding and modernising the facility of local trains.
PM also flagged off 34 new Air Conditioned local train services and two non-ac local train services on the main line between Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) and Kalyan and Kasara railway stations.
Recalling the contribution of the metropolitan city of Mumbai in the progress of independent India, the Prime Minister said that now the effort is to increase Mumbai’s capability manifold with regard to its contribution for Atma Nirbhar Bharat.
“That is why our special focus is on creating 21st-century infrastructure for Mumbai”, the Prime Minister said. Thousands of crore rupees are being invested in rail connectivity in Mumbai as the Mumbai Suburban Rail system is being equipped with the latest technology. The Prime Minister also said that efforts are on for adding additional 400 Kms in the Mumbai Suburban and 19 stations are planned to be modernised with facilities like a modern CBTC signal system.
The Prime Minister said that “Ahmadabad-Mumbai High Speed Rail is country’s need and it will strengthen Mumbai’s identity as city of dreams. Completing this project rapidly is our priority”, he said.
The Prime Minister said even the Covid-19 pandemic could not shake the government’s commitment to making Indian Railways more safe, convenient and modern. During the last two years, the Prime Minister said, Railways made new records in freight transportation. the 8000 Km railway line was electrified and the 4.500 Km line was doubled in this period. During the Corona period, farmers were connected to country-wide markets through Kisan Rails, he said.
Talking about the changed approach of New India regarding the completion of infrastructure projects, the Prime Minister pointed out that in the past projects lingered due to a lack of coordination from planning to execution stages. This made the creation of 21st-century infrastructure impossible, that is why he said that PM Gatishakti Plan was conceived.
The plan will bring every department of the central government, state government’s local bodies and private sector on one platform. This will provide relevant information well in advance to all stakeholders for proper planning and coordination.
Modi lamented the thought process that prevented sufficient investment in the resources used by the poor and middle class. This, he said, kept shine off the public transport in the country. “Now India is moving forward, leaving behind this thinking”, he said.
The Prime Minister listed measures that are giving a new face to Indian Railways. He said that modern stations like Gandhinagar and Bhopal are fast becoming the identity of Indian railways and more than 6000 railway stations have been connected with wifi facilities. Vande Bharat Trains are giving new momentum and modern facilities to railways in the country. 400 new Vande Bharat will be launched in the coming years in the service of the nation, the Prime Minister said.
The project will also facilitate the introduction of 36 additional suburban services and result in increased passenger capacity on Central Railway. Introduction of additional long-distance trains from Lokmanya Tilak Terminus and Suburban services will be available at Kalva and Mumbra stations.
Arun Kumar Das is a senior journalist covering railways. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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