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Rediff News  All News  » Business » Rupee rise hits World Bank aid to Mumbai

Rupee rise hits World Bank aid to Mumbai

January 18, 2008 12:50 IST

The World Bank and Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority were forced to take out the crucial station area traffic improvement scheme and railway overbridge out of the Mumbai Urban Transport Project due to appreciation of the rupee against the dollar as the financial aid from the World Bank reduced by around Rs 275 crore (Rs 2.75 billion).

However, both the bodies agreed to install the vehicle efficiency monitoring system on BEST buses, which will increase fuel efficiency of the suburban bus fleet and reduce emission at the cost of Rs 40 crore (Rs 400 million).

The process to review the progress of various projects under the MUTP was completed on Thursday by the World Bank and MMRDA, which is a nodal agency for the projects.

The new monitoring system will not only help to increase fuel efficiency of the fleet but also help to reduce emission level. It will help depot managers to monitor driving skills of the bus drivers and arrange for training courses, if necessary.

It will also assist them in taking informed decision about deployment of the fleet and using it in optimum fashion, said Milind Mhaiskar, Joint Metropolitan Commissioner, MMRDA.

The total cost of the MUTP project when started in November 2002 was pegged at Rs 4,256 crore (Rs 42.56 billion), out of which World Bank was to give financial aid of Rs 2,602 crore (Rs 26.02 billion).

However, due to hardening of the rupee against the dollar from around Rs 48 to Rs 40 per dollar it is now estimated that, in actual terms MMRDA will receive Rs 275 crore (Rs 2.75 billion) less from the World Bank.

However, these projects will be carried out by the MMRDA and Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation independently outside the purview of MUTP from their own funds, clarified Mhaiskar.

The resettlement & rehabilitation of the Project Affected Persons has been mostly completed. This will give the required impetus to the progress of the road components of MUTP.

The successful completion of the R&R on the Santacruz-Chembur Link Road will ensure uninterrupted civil work for one year to enable speedy implementation. The six-lane SCLR will connect the western suburbs with the eastern suburbs.

Under the project for the first time in Mumbai, double decker elevated road project will be implemented in Mumbai and with the R&R activity completed, we are now hopeful about the speedy completion of this long pending project said, Hubert Nove-Josserand, World Bank's Team Leader for the MUTP.

The 11 KM Jogeshwari Vikhroli Link Road connects the Western Express Highway at Jogeshwari (East) to the Eastern Express Highway at Vikhroli and was planned in three phases. Around 95 per cent of the first and third phase has been completed.

On the second phase of the project, the IIT land has been taken and the R&R process has been mostly completed. The project is expected to be completed by mid 2009.

The rail component is also near completion as laying of additional lines between Borivali and Virar is complete, work on Mahim-Kurla and Kurla-Thane route has also gathered momentum.

The four new rakes have been deployed on Western and Central lines and another 48 will be deployed by end of this year, claimed Mhaiskar.

BS Reporter in Mumbai