The ambitious elevated Churchgate-Virar suburban rail corridor on the Western Railway (WR) for air-conditioned EMUs (Electrical Multiple Units), as proposed by Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav in his last rail budget, has already hit its first hurdle.
Companies in the fray for the position of Technical Consultant – which carries out the prerequisite feasibility study – have asked the Railways Ministry to give them more time for the study.
Representatives of the firms, who number well over a dozen and are currently bidding for the position, travelled on the 60-kilometre route on Thursday.
According to sources, they then returned to the capital and asked railway officials to up the time limit to a year for completion of the study. That is six months more than the 21 weeks specified for the task by the ministry in a global tender issued on February 29.
The feasibility study would include a master plan for secondfloor level platforms and stations, construction method, schemes for road connectivity, entry and exit to the stations, fly-overs, parking, study of environmental impact, investigation of soil composition and traffic surveys.
“They pointed out that the time given for the feasibility study is very less, and have asked for one year at least,” confirmed S P Vats, Additional Member (Works), Central Railway Board. Vats further revealed that the bidding companies wanted the enormous scope of the study to be reduced in case it was not possible to increase the time limit.
The main reason the railways is pushing ahead with the project is because an elevated corridor adds capacity to an extremely overcrowded transport system without requiring any additional lines alongside existing tracks. It hopes that the air-conditioned EMU services on the elevated corridor ‘will enjoy a robust response’.