In a significant development, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu on Monday asked his ministry officials to prepare a draft plan for Mumbai Urban Transport Project 4.
This is in view of the tremendous increase in the number of passengers -- 75 million per day -- handled by the Mumbai suburban railway system.
"In future, heavy load is expected on the Mumbai transportation and this would require more suburban services for the people. We might as well start planning MUTP 4 for to cater to this," Prabhu said, asking the Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation to start work on it.
He said this while attending several functions organised by the Central Railway in and around Mumbai during the day.
The ambitious MUTP, intended to improve the road and rail transportation network in the Mumbai metropolitan region, is being implemented with World Bank assistance and central and state government contributions.
Launched in 2007, MUTP 1 costing Rs.4,526 crore, was completed in 2011 with a series of projects implemented. Currently, the Rs.7,006 crore MUTP 2 is under implementation.
The MUTP 3, estimated to cost Rs.52,000 crore was sanctioned in 2011 and is targeted for completion in 2031 with various mega-projects in the pipeline.
A Central Railway official said Prabhu's nod for considering MUTP 4 will now be put into motion with the draft plan likely to be prepared within a couple of years, though details of the projects to be included or the proposed financial outlay, are not yet known.
Under MUTP 1 and 2 a series of projects were initiated including additional railway lines, new high-speed coaches and rakes (trains), capacity enhancing, road overbridges and foot overbridges, improving railway stations with better access-exit, spreading the suburban rail network to new satellite towns and cities in the Mumbai metropolitan region, etc.