Commuters in Thane hope for smoother travel as new station proposal gets a fillip

The state’s approval to the Thane Municipal Corporation to use the Mental Hospital land to build the new Thane railway station is a major boost to the travel infrastructure in the city.

The new station aims at decongesting the old one and will cater to more than 2 lakh commuters.

On Thursday, the state government gave its approval for the Thane Mental Hospital land to be used for development of the New Thane Station.

The 15-acre land will be handed over to the corporation in exchange of transfer of development rights (TDR) for the hospital. A four-member committee has been formed to finalise the conditions of the TDR.

The TMC claimed that the station will resolve the overcrowding issue of the Thane railway station, the oldest in the country, has almost reached saturation point and avoid a tragedy like the Elphinstone Road stampede.

“More than 24 lakh people reside in Thane, while the footfall at Thane station is anywhere between 6.5 and 8 lakhs every day. Residents of Kalwa, Pokharan Road No. 1, 2, Khopat, Wagale Estate and Ghodbunder can use the station. The new station will ease off 23 per cent load from Thane railway station,” said Sunil Chavan, additional municipal commissioner.

The demand for the station is more than 14 years old and commuter unions have been pushing for it.

The construction of the New Thane station was stuck for over a year and half because of the pending approval from the state to allot the land.

“A female ward building will be affected. We will provide all necessary facility to the mental hospital in exchange for the land. The railways will construct the core area of the station, for which they had given us a budget estimate of Rs120 crore,” said Chavan.

The cost of the station is Rs289 crore and will be funded under the Smart City project, which was decided after a survey. “We surveyed more than 6 lakh people for their feedback on projects to be taken under smart city. More than 4 lakh people want development of station area. We decided to build the new station project from the smart city funds,” he added.

The station was first proposed in 2004 but the plan was stuck for multiple reasons. The TMC finally agreed to fund the construction of the station in 2016 and got approvals for the design from the railways.

“We will now transfer 30 per cent of the estimated cost to the railways, which will start the tendering process. We had also floated tenders for the circulating area of the station. However, it has not received any response. So, we will go for global tendering to attract more agencies,” added Chavan.

Commuter unions say new station will ease crowd at Thane

Nandkumar Deshmukh, president of Thane Railway Pravasi Sangh, said, “We have been demanding the Thane station for more than 10 years. We hope that the construction of the station is sped up.”

The station is a futuristic planning to decongest Thane, said Millind Ballal, president of Thane district Pravasi Mahasangha. “Thane station cannot take more load. The new station is important, taking into consideration the increasing population of the city. The residents of Ghodbunder Road and Pokharan can use the station. The corporation should ensure that the station design does not fail like that of the Thane (W) SATIS project,” Ballal said.

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