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Why MRVC is Mumbai Rail no-Vikas Corporation – one a Right to Information Act plea filed by Borivli-resident Devraj Roy in May 2006

Posted by rtiact2005 on June 19, 2006

Why MRVC is Mumbai Rail no-Vikas Corporation

http://www.mumbaimirror.com/nmirror/mmpaper.asp?sectid=2&articleid=6192006232764536192006232621468

Lack of vision and co-ordination have reduced an organisation meant to change the face of Mumbai’s suburban train travel to being just a disburser of funds

Binoo Nair

On Monday, Mumbai Mirror reported on how two documents two years apart — one a Right to Information Act plea filed by Borivli-resident Devraj Roy in May 2006 and another a presentation made to railway minister of state Naranbhai Rathwa on August 2, 2004 — showed several projects being executed by Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation (MRVC) are still languishing. Here we tell you why an organisation, envisaged to take over the running of the entire suburban network in the city, is stuck at being a toothless disburser of World Bank funds with no powers to turn the screws on Western or Central Railways if they don’t complete projects in time.

Lack of vision:
When the railway ministry was negotiating with the Asian Development Bank and World Bank on funds to re-energise Mumbai’s archaic railway system, the suggestion was that the suburban system be separated from the express train system. MRVC was thought to be the answer and expected to have a boss who would be a full-scale general manager and have full executive control. However, MRVC was reduced to being just a disburser of World Bank funds. Even now, while the managing director of MRVC is on the same pay-scale as WR or CR GMs, he is several years junior.

The setting up of MRVC:
When MRVC was being set up, most officials at WR and CR allege, several who joined were those who wanted to stay back in Mumbai and didn’t find place in either WR or CR. Some joined under a cloud of inefficiency or corruption. For example, a very senior MRVC official is busy fighting a vigilance charge sheet for an oversight committed in the allotment of rail travel service agencies when he was in WR’s commercial department. WR and CR officials with good track records didn’t go to MRVC on deputation as they felt lack of progress in the projects at MRVC would mean problems in future career prospects.

Co-ordination problems between MRVC, WR & CR:
The administration of both WR and CR does not take kindly to mega-blocks and large-scale disruptions in trains. Thus, every time MRVC proposes a breakneck speed of finishing a project, it gets stalled by operations teams of both railways.

Co-ordination problems:
The state government is a 49 per cent partner in MRVC, the rest being held by ministry of railways. The government’s twin nominees on the board of directors are MMRDA commissioner Dr T Chandrashekhar and principal secretary (Urban development) Ramanand Tiwari. The problem, MRVC officials say, is that both are very busy officers and do not get time to devote to MRVC. Due to this most MRVC projects were stuck because of problems in land acquisition or encroachments. While Chandrashekhar is in charge of rehabilitation, Tiwari’s department deals with land acquisition.

Genuine hurdles:
Unlike Delhi Metro Rail Corporation which was building something new, the MRVC was entrusted with modernising a running system. It doesn’t help that a disruption for even some hours can cause law and order problems. Lack of space is another problem. Several stretches of construction have to be carried out in close proximity to running trains where even a way to bring in heavy equipment and trucks isn’t possible.

 

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