Washington: The World Bank has approved $430 million to finance further improvement of Mumbai`s suburban railway system, considered the lifeline of the megacity with a population of nearly 15 million.
The Bank`s Board Tuesday also approved $350 million to finance the Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement Project which aims to improve the safety and sustainable performance of over 220 selected dams in Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, and Tamil Nadu.
The Mumbai Urban Transport Project 2A aims to add more vehicle capacity during peak hours, reduce peak hour overcrowding, shorten journey times and improve operational efficiency, the Bank said.
As many as 720 train cars will be added in the system. The project will also expand maintenance facilities, provide additional stabling lines, and complete the conversion from 1500V DC to 25KV AC traction of the remaining sections of Central Railway in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region.
"The first Mumbai Urban Transport Project has already managed to reduce the level of crowding in suburban trains from 4,500 to 4100 passengers per 9-coach train at peak hours in spite of traffic increase," said Hubert Nove-Josserand, World Bank Senior Urban Transport Specialist and Project Team Leader.
"This follow up project will further improve the capacity, operational efficiency, level of comfort and strengthen the institutional capacity of the agencies in charge of the suburban rail system in the Mumbai Metropolitan area."
Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement Project (DRIP) also aims to strengthen the institutional, legal and technical framework for dam safety assurance within the Government of India and in the participating states.
"Rainfall, which occurs mainly in intense and unpredictable downpours within short monsoon seasons, is of high temporal and spatial variability and does not meet year-round irrigation and other water demands," said Joop Stoutjesdijk, Lead Irrigation Engineer and Project Team Leader.
"Considering this, storage of water is essential for India. However, many large dams are in need of modern safety measures and monitoring instrumentation."
There are about 4700 completed large dams in India - almost half of which are more than twenty-five years old- with another 400 under construction. The total water storage capacity of these existing dams is about 283 billion cubic metres.