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Mumbai: For want of 533 sq m of land, WR's expansion plans for its 5th and 6th lines sidelined for over a decade

11:06 PM Oct 17, 2021 | KAMAL MISHRA

For want of just 532.57 sq m of land, including a small portion of Shakti Mills, Western Railway’s much-needed expansion plans for its 5th and 6th lines have been held up for more than a decade.

The fifth and sixth line projects will not only separate suburban trains from long-distance but also create a path for the introduction of additional trains.

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For the construction of a sixth line between Mumbai Central and Borivli, 88.57 sq m land needs to be acquired from the Shakti Mills Compound. Apart from that, 487.80 sq m land must be acquired in Vile Parle and Borivli, of which 43.80 sq m has already been acquired. The remaining 444 sq m is to be acquired through the collector, Bandra.

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Confirming the development, a WR official said, “The matter of handing over of 88.57 sq m of land from Shakti Mills to the railways for construction is being pursued by the state authorities, to get permission from the court. Government of Maharashtra help is needed to follow up on the case.”

“The landowner who was leased this state-owned land has brought a stay on the revocation of the lease. The case is at present being heard in the court of small causes at Dhobi Talao, Mumbai. The collector, Mumbai City, has been requested by Railways to request the court to allow the transfer of this small piece of land crucial to the project, pending decision of the case,” said the official, adding that the collector had written to the government advocate to request accordingly.

Asked about the current status of acquisition process of land parcels of Vile Parle and Borivli, a WR official said, “Joint site verification with the MMRDA in connection of R&R for residents residing in the building under acquisition for Vile Parle and Borivli land acquisition has been completed on 8th and 24th August 2021 respectively. Now, a final report has also been submitted by the MMRDA to the deputy collector, Bandra. The valuation of 444 sq m land and related structures is under process at the PWD-end. PWD has completed valuation of buildings at Borivli and submitted due report, based on which the collector is to publish the award.”

When asked about the resettlement and rehabilitation (R&R) process of the project-affected people, an official supervising the project said, “For the rehabilitation and resettlement (R&R) of 234 Project-Affected Persons (PAPs) in Bandra-Borivli section, the MMRDA has been asked to explore the possibility to rehabilitate the affected people and a final decision is awaited. After that, eviction can be planned accordingly.”

Similarly, for the R&R of 633 Project-Affected Persons (PAPs) in the Bandra-Mumbai Central section, joint site verification with the MMRDA had been completed in August 2021 and now the MMRDA must rehabilitate those 140 PAPs and the process is underway.

According to WR General Manager Alok Kansal, at the most recent coordination meeting with state government officials, the land acquisition issue was discussed prominently and “they promised to look into the matter positively. Once we receive the said pieces of land, the project can be completed within just two years”.

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