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Budget 2018: Mumbai city transportation gets a boost

PB Jayakumar     February 2, 2018

People of Mumbai have something to cheer about with the Finance Minister Arun Jaitley allocating Rs 40,000 crore for enhancing the city transportation infrastructure in the Budget. Jaitley announced that the government will spend around Rs 11,000 crore on upgrading the city's train systems and the Mumbai suburban rail will get 90 additional kilometres of double line.

Following the announcement, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who thanked Modi, Jaitley and Piyush Goyal, tweeted that this would be a big boost to city's infrastructure and the economy and money would be spent on new airports and transportation.

Of late, the state government has fast-tracked construction of many of the metro and road mega projects, which were in planning for decades but failed to take off due to bureaucratic hurdles, land acquisitions and paucity of funds.

One among the main projects currently on the ground is the 22-km long Mumbai Trans Harbour Link (MTHL), connecting Mumbai with Navi Mumbai over the sea. The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) has appointed three contractors to construct all the three packages and they will soon start work on the Rs 17,000 crore project, expected to be ready by 2021.

Apart from the Navi Mumbai International airport, another long pending project with priority is the Virar-Alibaug Multi-Modal Corridor. The 128-km Virar-Alibaug multimodal corridor Phase-1 is expected to cost anywhere between Rs 10,000-18,000 crore.

The Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC), the road construction arm of the state government, is planning to construct a 1.8 km six-lane third bridge at Vashi for  Rs 777 crore, besides several other flyovers and bridges to ease traffic. Another pet project of the Chief Minister, who himself monitors infrastructure projects from a 'war room', is the 711 kilometre access controlled Nagpur - Mumbai Super Expressway.

Work is progressing on several metro lines as per the schedule and the Andheri (East) to Dahisar (East) Metro-7 and Dahisar to DN Nagar Metro-2A is expected to go on stream within a couple of years. The second line of monorail connecting Wadala to Jacob Circle is also awaiting final clearances to start operations.

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