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Mumbai's huge infrastructure projects in limbo

August 06, 2013 09:21 IST

Image: Mumbai Monorail.
Photographs: Courtesy, MMRDA Sanjay Jog in Mumbai

Even as the Prime Minister’s Office has set March 2014 as the deadline for 16 mega infrastructure projects across the country, a close look at those in and around the Mumbai Metropolitan Region reveals much delay.

The Rs 2,460-crore (Rs 24.60 billion) Mumbai Monorail project, which was to be completed by 2010 and was later rescheduled for December 2012, is still under construction. 

Mumbai's huge infrastructure projects in limbo

Image: Mumbai Monorail.
Photographs: Courtesy, MMRDA

The first phase (of 8.8 km) is expected to be thrown open to passengers by August-end or the middle of September.

The second phase (of 10.74 km) would be operational by August next year.

The project was delayed due to delay in environment and railway clearances, relocation of religious structures and issues relating to right of way.

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Mumbai's huge infrastructure projects in limbo

Image: Mumbai Metro Line-I
Photographs: Courtesy, Mumbai Metro Line

The 11.40-km Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar fully-elevated Mumbai Metro Line-I, costing Rs 2,356 crore (Rs 23.56 billion), was set to be completed by 2012-end.

Recently, test runs for the Versova-Azadnagar stretch were completed and the line is expected to be operational by September, while the full line is to be thrown open to passengers by December.

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Mumbai's huge infrastructure projects in limbo

Image: Mumbai Metro Line-I
Photographs: Courtesy, Mumbai Metro Line

The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), the planning authority, admits there was a delay in the handing over of land, delays in permission from the Western Railways to start construction of a rail overbridge and design changes.

Further, while the former president, Pratibha Devisingh Patil, had laid the foundation stone for the 32-km Charkop-Bandra-Mankhurd Mumbai Metro-II line in August 2009, development is yet to begin. Reliance Infrastructure, which had bagged the project, might get out of it as the deadlock continues over obtaining critical project clearances.

In view of the lack of clarity on the allocation of alternative space for depot land, the project might get abandoned.

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Mumbai's huge infrastructure projects in limbo

Image: Mumbai Trans Harbour Link
Photographs: Courtesy, MMRDA

The Rs 9,360-crore (Rs 93.60 billion) Mumbai Trans Harbour Link (Sewri and Nhava Sheva) was earlier tendered in 2008 but later scrapped.

Thereafter, it was re-tendered in 2009 but did not receive enough response.

After three years of delay, the project was tendered a third time and MMRDA shortlisted five bidders.

Mumbai's huge infrastructure projects in limbo


Photographs: Courtesy, MMRDA

The Centre has agreed to provide Rs 1,920 crore (Rs 19.20 billion) as viability gap funding. Transport experts have hit out against the government's indecisiveness in project implementation.

Of the five bids, IRB Infrastructure has decided to withdraw its bid citing bad experience on some other infrastructure projects in the state.  

As far as the Rs 5,000-crore (Rs 50 bilion) Worli - Haji Ali sea link project is concerned, the project is almost abandoned.

Mumbai's huge infrastructure projects in limbo


Photographs: Courtesy, MMRDA

The formal announcement is expected from the state government. The state-run Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation and Reliance Infrastructure, which had bagged the project, have mutually agreed to part ways.

The project development could not start despite the concession agreement which was signed in 2010, due to a change in framework post the awarding of the bid.

MMRDA Joint Project Director Dilip Kawathkar told Business Standard, "We are constantly pursuing with the government of India to get the environment clearance and with the railways for its permission to carry out construction. However, it has been MMRDA’s effort to fast-track projects.''

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Mumbai's huge infrastructure projects in limbo

Image: A signboard at the proposed site of the Navi Mumbai International Airport.
Photographs: Danish Siddiqui/Reuters

More, the much debated Navi Mumbai international airport project could not start despite the environment clearance being awarded in November 2010.

The state-run City and Industrial Development Corporation has yet to acquire 450 hectares of private land as project-affected persons are insisting on a 35 per cent share of the developed land.

Mumbai's huge infrastructure projects in limbo


Photographs: Danish Siddiqui/Reuters

The project cost, which was envisaged at Rs 4,766 crore (Rs 47.66 billion) way back in 1998 to handle 40 million passengers annually, has risen substantially to Rs 14,573 crore (Rs 145.73 billion) as on date to handle 60 million passengers annually. 

The rise has been as high as 305.8 per cent.

Nawab Malik, spokesman, Maharashtra unit of Nationalist Congress Party, has demanded the state government come out with the status report on the ongoing infrastructure projects in the city and in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region.

“The delay among other things has also been due to rigid stand taken by bureaucracy,” he said.

Source: source