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Govt of India, Govt of Maharashtra, Mumbai Railway Vikas Corp. (MRVC) and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) today signed a loan agreement for a $500 million Mumbai Urban Transport Project-III to improve the network capacity, service quality and safety of the suburban railway system in the country’s commercial centre.
The project is expected to increase network capacity in the region with a reduction in journey time as well as help in reducing fatalities involving rail commuters. It is estimated that among primary beneficiaries of the project, 22 per cent are female passengers who will benefit from improved safety and quality of service.
The loan agreement was signed by Sameer Kumar Khare, Additional Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, on behalf of the Govt of India, Sanjay Kumar, Chief Secretary on behalf of the Govt of Maharashtra, RS Khurana, Chief Managing Director on behalf of MRVC and Rajat Misra, Director General (Acting), Investment Operations on behalf of the AIIB.
Khare said that this project will assist in improved mobility, service quality and safety of passengers of the suburban railway system of Mumbai, by providing faster, more reliable and higher quality transport services compared to road-based transport. There will be direct safety benefits to passengers and the public through the introduction of trespass control measures.
Mumbai’s Growth Compels State to Prioritise Infra Planning
With a population of 22.8 million (2011), the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) is the most populous metropolitan region in the country and is expected to reach 29.3 million by 2031 and 32.1 million by 2041. This population growth represents the core driver behind Mumbai’s urban expansion, compelling the state of Maharashtra to prioritise sound urban and infrastructure planning that balances economic activities, mobility as well as the optimisation of environmental and social outcomes.
Around 86 per cent of Mumbai commuters rely on public transport. However, supply has not kept pace with rising travel demand. The Mumbai suburban railway network, which carries three-quarters of all motorised travel (78 per cent of passenger-km or 8 million passengers per day) increasing at 3 per cent annually, suffers from some of the most severe overcrowding in the world. User experience is further compromised by the low amenity of carriages, substandard stations and station access, and serious safety concerns.
Between 2002-2012, there were more than 36,152 fatalities (on average, 9.9 fatalities per day) and 36,688 injuries on the Mumbai suburban railway network. A key reason for accidents and deaths is trespassing at or between stations as well as overcrowding of both stations and train cars.
AIIB Vice President DJ Pandian said that this project represents another major step in supporting the member countries in their efforts to provide transport capacity while removing transport bottlenecks, and thus improving the daily commuting experience of millions of Mumbaikars. In line with the bank’s transport sector strategy, the Mumbai Urban Transport Project-III will also help in reducing carbon emissions by shifting passengers away from higher-carbon road transport towards efficient and convenient rail-based mobility. Besides, female passengers will benefit from improved safety and quality of service.
The total estimated cost of the project is $997 million, of which $500 million will be financed by the AIIB, $310 million by the Government of Maharashtra and $187 million by the Ministry of Railways. The $500 million loan from the AIIB has a five-year grace period and a maturity of 30 years.