Britain to help build Mumbai Metro rail

February 19, 2013 - 12:28:29 am

Mumbai: With an expertise of nearly 150 years in operating its Tube, Transport For London will now help build a 150km long Mumbai Metro rail network, officials said here  yesterday.

Transport for London (TFL) is a British organisation that manages transport services across London.

This would give an immense boost to solving the traffic problems of Mumbai, currently engaged in finalising the construction of the first phase of its Metro rail, running an 11km distance between Andheri-Versova-Ghatkopar.

Against the backdrop of the ongoing visit by British Prime Minister David Cameroon to India, Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority and TFL signed a memorandum of understanding to set up a cooperative framework for developing and operating a Metro railway for the country’s commercial capital.

Through the MoU, exchange of information and personnel for transfer of latest technology in the field would be available, enabling MMRDA to implement and operationalise its plans of 150km long Metro rail network in Mumbai and surrounding regions by 2021.

The MoU was signed by MMRDA Commissioner Rahul Asthana and TFL Capital Programmes director David Waboso.

Speaking on the occasion, Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan said that the British business community’s participation in mega-infrastructure initiatives in Maharashtra, particularly Mumbai, would definitely encourage the state to plan out more such initiatives for the city’s development.

“Our vision is to transform Mumbai into a world-class metropolis with globally comparable infrastructure and quality of life. Towards achieving the vision, a comprehensive transport and business plans has been prepared,” Chavan said. 

“It is estimated that $40bn investment in transport and civic infrastructure will be needed for the same,” Chavan remarked.

The British delegation was shown a film, “Magnetic Maharashtra”, highlighting the investment opportunities and developmental plans in the state.

The visiting delegation expressed keen interest in development of infrastructure in India, especially in Maharashtra.

On his part, Waboso briefed the Indian side on the integrated London transport system which includes buses, trams, light railway, heavy railway, taxies, river boats and the London underground Metro — the Tube —which is the world’s oldest and second largest service in terms of kilometres.

The MMRDA-TFL MoU was part of the visit to Mumbai by British Prime Minister Cameroon and his accompanying high-level business delegation.

Impressed by India’s rise, want to be its partner: Cameron

Stating that Britain is looking to be “India’s partner of choice”, Prime Minister David Cameron yesterday said he is impressed to see India’s rise.

“India’s rise is going to be one of the great phenomena of this century and it is incredibly impressive to see — the vibrancy of your democracy, the great strength of the diversity of your country and the enormous power of your economy, that is going to be one of the top three economies by 2030,” he said while addressing officials and executives of Hindustan Unilever here.

“Britain wants to be your partner of choice. We’ve only just started on the sort of partnership that we could build,” he said adding: “As far as I’m concerned, the sky is the limit.”

With an agenda to forge greater trade ties with India, Cameron landed in Mumbai last morning leading a 100-member business delegation. 

Starting his three-day visit from India’s commercial capital, he said: “UK can forge one of the great partnerships of the 21st century with India.”

Cameron said that it is fantastic to be back in Mumbai. “I am very proud of the fact that I have been the prime minister for two and a half years and this is my second visit to India, because I want Britain and India to have a very special relationship,” he said.

Stating that he has brought to India the biggest delegation out of Britain, Cameron said Britain wants to tie up with India in many different ways. 

“We want to tie up with India in so many different ways — with your culture, your companies, your business and of course with your people,” he said.

Cameron also said that both India and Britain has been facing the problem of terrorism alike and said that both countries should come together to fight the menace. 

“We both face this extraordinary and difficult challenge of fighting terrorists and terrorism in our midst and I want us to meet that challenge together,” he said.

Cameron will leave for New Delhi Monday evening where is he scheduled to meet Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Pranab Mukherjee.