Mah govt to introduce 'congestion charge' in Mumbai

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Mumbai, Mar 19 (UNI) Maharashtra Government is planning to introduce ''congestion charge'' in Mumbai as part of its policy to discourage use of private cars and promote public transport.

The announcement was made by Finance Minister Jayant Patil in the Legislative Assembly while presenting the budget proposals for 2008-09 for the record 10th consecutive time.

He said the government is also in the process of improving connectivity on three corridors through the monorail system. ''We are also in the process of introducing high capacity bus system on major corridors. By creating a world class bus and rail system, we believe that demand for private cars will be curtailed,'' he added.

Mr Patil said Mumbai has been the focus of the state government's attention over the last three years. After initial delays, the Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar Metro Rail corridor will be completed by June 2010. ''The construction on remaining corridors will be completed over the next eight years,'' he informed.

Speaking about the suburban rail system, he said over the next 18 months, 156 new trains will run on Central, Harbour and Western lines. This will not only reduce peak time congestion, but will provide huge relief to those living beyond Borivali and Thane.

The second phase of Mumbai Urban Transport Project costing Rs 4500 crore has been approved and provisions have been made in this year's rail budget. The state government has agreed to contribute Rs 1150 crore towards this project. The second phase is expected to be completed by 2012.

He said co-ordination of various transport systems has been one of the major issues plaguing the city. To ensure seamless travel and better planning for transport infrastructure, the Unified Metropolitan Authority has been set up.

Mr Patil also informed that the government will embark on modernisation of Mumbai's Taraporewala acquarium in eight months.

UNI MR MAZ AK KN1710

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