WASHINGTON, DC, June 29, 2010 ─ The World Bank today approved $430 million to finance the Mumbai Urban Transport Project 2A to further improve the suburban railway system in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region – one of the world’s largest urban center with a population of 18 million in 2001. The Bank’s Board 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 India.
The Mumbai Urban Transport Project – 2A (MUTP-2A). The Mumbai Metropolitan Region faces enormous challenges with shortages of land, housing, infrastructure and social services that have not kept up with the growing demands. In 2006-07 an estimated 6.4 million passengers daily (2.3 billion passengers annually) travelled on the Mumbai suburban railway, which makes it the lifeline of the city as it represents more than half of all motorized trips. The commuters are subjected to one of the most severe overcrowding conditions in the world with about 4,500 passengers travelling in a 9-car train as against a rated carrying capacity of 1,700. This translated into a density of up to 16 people per square meter in cars.
“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.”
The project aims to add more vehicle capacity during peak hours, reduce peak hour overcrowding, shorten journey times, improve operational efficiency – namely through reduction in energy consumption, and strengthen institutional capacity. 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.
Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement Project (DRIP). 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 meters. They have played a key role in fostering rapid and sustained agricultural and rural growth and development – a key priority for the Government of India since independence. Irrigated agriculture and hydropower development have been major pillars of the government’s strategy to ensure food and energy security.
“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. Considering this, storage of water is essential for India. However, many large dams are in need of modern safety measures and monitoring instrumentation,” said Joop Stoutjesdijk, Lead Irrigation Engineer and Project Team Leader. “The project will help rehabilitate and modernize over 220 large dams in the states of Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, and Tamil Nadu.”
In addition, the Project also aims to strengthen the institutional, legal and technical framework for dam safety assurance within the Government of India and in the participating states.