You could soon take a fast train from CST to Navi Mumbai. The Central Railway’s proposed fast-train corridor on the harbour line will run almost parallel to the new Eastern Freeway.
While the railway line will go all the way to Panvel, the freeway will end at Ghatkopar to join the highway.
There is also a tentative plan to link the corridor with the under construction Nhava-Sheva sea link and connect it till Uran.
The freeway, being built by Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), consists of an elevated road from P D’Mello Road parallel to Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) right up till Anik to connect with the Eastern Express Highway.
The 60-km rail link, partially elevated, will start from Carnac Bunder and will end at Panvel.
While the Central Railway has submitted the proposal to the state government for its approval because land acquisition will be required, the state is said to have sought funding from the World Bank to get the project completed in time for the new Panvel airport.
Railway officials said chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, who holds the transport portfolio, and Central Railway’s general manager Kul Bhushan, who also holds a powerful position in New Delhi, have shown a keen interest in the project and it would soon see the light of the day.
Discussions are on the practicalities of implementing the project. “There is no space along the existing corridor as it passes through dense localities. A new line towards the east side was the only practical idea. Earlier, trains used to run all the way till Ballard Pier and this is a revival of the same old corridor,” said an official.
“The new corridor will have a new set of trains, either air-conditioned or like the existing ones, and a new bridge over the creek. But all this will require a separate budget and probably a separate budget head or an independent body to get it implemented,” he added.
“These things could be a part of the third phase of the Mumbai Urban Transport Project that is still at the planning stage,” he added.
By Rajendra Aklekar | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA
Assuring that the government was committed to give the city a new airport along with direct connectivity, chief minister Prithviraj Chavan on Sunday made it clear that mistakes made in the bidding process for the 21-km-long Mumbai Trans-Harbour Link (MTHL) will not be repeated, hinting that the vital project may be retained by the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC).
Government officials have been enthusiastic about the new proposed airport, which recently sought environmental clearances from the Centre. However, nothing much has been happening on the vital connectivity with the airport, particularly on the MTHL — about 20-km elevated link, which has sea link of 18 km.
Referring to the proposed Navi Mumbai international airport, Chavan said that both the crucial projects of Navi Mumbai will now go hand in hand.
Cities that are thriving always tend to grow. And sometimes they outgrow themselves and spill over to areas in the neighbourhood, which are first called suburbs, then extended suburbs and then satellite towns. Navi Mumbai was meant to be a satellite town that could take away some of the population density away from Mumbai. It worked, but partially. Lack of government will to push for the development of Navi Mumbai was the primary reason.
But the story of Panvel could be a bit different. Though located a bit beyond Navi Mumbai, it has attracted attention as a new town, which could become bigger than Navi Mumbai and even ease some of the population pressures that Mumbai currently faces.
To discuss the potential of Panvel was a panel comprising (in alphabetical order) MD Lele, chief planner, Cidco; Joy Sanyal, local director and head, development initiatives, Jones Lang LaSalle Property Consultants (India) Pvt Ltd; Mayur R Shah, managing director, Marathon Realty Pvt Ltd; V Suresh, principal executive officer, Hirco; Pradeep Swami, director, Fortune InfraProject Pvt Ltd; Pranay Vakil, chairman, Knight Frank (India) Pvt Ltd; Aparna Vedula, senior planner Cidco.
During these discussions, moderated by DNA’s RN Bhaskar, several issues were raised. Given below are excerpts from this conversation:
DNA: The idea behind this Conversation is to explore the possibilities and to enlighten our readers about the risks and the challenges that might arise related to the Panvel region. We would like to learn about policy decisions to be taken and what additional policy initiatives are needed. Since we have two people from Cidco, could we have them tell us what Panvel is all about? You are the master planners, you are the people behind Panvel. What have you done in Panvel that you have not done elsewhere?
Lele: Panvel is the gateway to the MMR — the Mumbai Metropolitan Region. The main hinterland of Maharashtra lies towards the east and south of Panvel. Panvel provides quick access to the hinterland and it is the opening towards Pune. With the opening of the economy, one can expect a lot of development to take place in and around Panvel. There will be dramatic improvements taking place there.
Panvel has been a middle-class area, the other Navi Mumbai nodes are more affluent. Proximity to Pune is its biggest asset. With the new international airport coming up in Navi Mumbai, Panvel’s future seems very promising. It can really take off. Another plus point is its proximity to JNPT [the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust], the dedicated freight corridor [DFC], the industrial corridor [DMIC or the Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor, which could transform much of the business and logistics scenario for West and North India]. Even currently, the rail connectivity is excellent. As a terminus it is suitable for freight-related activities. Towards Pune you have agriculture, floriculture, so Panvel is poised for a great future.