Mumbai, July 23 (IANS) A $430 million (Rs.2,000 crore)loan agreement to improve the suburban railway system of the city was signed here Friday.
Representatives of the central and state governments, the Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation and the World Bank signed the agreement.
The World Bank had last month sanctioned the loan for the second phase of the Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP) project.
The MUTP first phase has managed to reduce the level of overcrowding in the suburban trains during peak hours despite traffic increase, said Hubert Nove-Josserand, the Bank’s urban transport specialist and project team leader.
‘The follow-up project will further improve the capacity, operational efficiency, comfort levels and strengthen the institutional capacity of the agencies in-charge of the suburban railway system in the city,’ he said.
With 720 new train coaches to be added during the second phase, the project will increase train capacity during peak hours, reduce peak hour overcrowding, shorten journey times, improve operational efficiency by reducing energy consumption and strengthen institutional capacity.
Over seven million people daily commute on the Mumbai suburban railway network – the city’s lifeline spanning across the Central Railway, Western Railway and the Harbour Lines. trains.
The commuters are subjected to one of the most severe overcrowding conditions in the world with around 4,500 people cramming each 9-coach train against the rated capacity of only 1,700 – with a density of 16 persons per square metre.