As compensation for BMC land in Bandra that MSRDC has reportedly been using for two years without paying rent, corporators want to coast through BWSL without paying toll

There may be no such thing as free lunches, but the city's corporators seem keen on squeezing free rides from the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC). Reviving an old cry, corporators have asked MSRDC to be exempted from paying toll to use the Bandra Worli Sea Link that the latter built two years ago.

Toll story: Corporators want free ride on the BWSL, as the MSRDC has
been holding a 3.5 hectare plot of land in Reclamation, which belongs to

Reason: For the past two years ago, MSRDC has been holding a 3.5-hectare plot of land in Reclamation, which belongs to the BMC. The civic authority has been demanding it back, but to no avail.

So, in a compensatory deal that corporators think is only fair, they have asked to be let off the Rs 50 (one-way) and Rs 75 (round trip) toll that is charged from commuters using the sea link. 

Civic officials said the land was reserved for a sewerage treatment plant, which is in limbo because MSRDC has not yet returned the plot. A senior official from sewerage projects department said, "We have sent them several notices, asking them to evacuate and to pay the rent, but in vain. After meetings in July to discuss the issue, they had agreed to pay the corporation but nothing has happened." He said that in response to this, a proposal was made last year for not charging the corporators who use the sea link.

In 2010, Ajit Raorane, a corporator from P-North ward had made the demand. "I had passed a notice for a motion that the toll should not be collected from corporators who commute to and from the island city every single day for meetings in the BMC headquarters," said Raorane. The notion appears to have found favour with several of the 227 corporators.  BMC Standing Committee Chairman Rahul Shewale supported the idea, saying, "The MSRDC has been occupying the land for a long time. They have not even paid the rent to the corporation, even as a project (sewer plant) as important for the city as the sea link has been suffering. We had earlier demanded to be exempt from paying toll." He added that a letter was sent to the MSRDC, asking them to exempt corporators from the toll and the corporation is awaiting a response.

Additional Municipal Commissioner Rajiv Jalota said, "I am unaware of any such proposal. But the MSRDC has not yet responded to us with the rent amount or evacuation. We require the land for the sewerage plant project as soon as possible."

The other side
MSRDC's chief engineer in charge of Bandra Worli Sea Link, A Deodhar, said, "I am on leave and can only comment once I resume work."