End of the road for Worli-Haji Ali sea link?

The plan to extend the sea link to Haji Ali is in a limbo with the final say on the much-touted project now under consideration with the cabinet committee on infrastructure, which is headed by chief minister Prithviraj Chavan. 

De-linked? The MSRDC board in its meeting endorsed a proposal to scrap the contract to extend the Bandra-Worli sea link to Haji Ali. File pic

If sources are to be believed then the CM is not very keen on the sea link project, and has expressed apprehensions in the past.

Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) in its board meeting yesterday has decided to send the report prepared by arbitrator retired justice BP Singh and attorney general of India GE Vahanvati to the cabinet committee on infrastructure to take a final call on the same.

According to sources, the report has suggested calling off the deal between the private contractor and MSRDC.

“We have decided to send the report prepared to the cabinet committee who will take a final call on the same,” said an MSRDC official who was present at the board meeting, which was held at Sahyadri.

Hanging fire
The Worli- Haji Ali sea link project has been stalled for the last two years due to differences between MSRDC and the contractor. Both the parties have been accusing each other of reneging on the terms of contract.

As a solution to the matter, Vahanvati had even suggested that both parties amicably terminate the agreement without any monetary liability on either side.

Discussing the future plans for the construction of the sea link, a senior MSRDC official said that on Thursday a decision was also taken to appoint a consultant to look into the options for the project.

One of the proposals discussed by MSRDC officials at the meeting was to take the onus of constructing the sea link. In this case, the cash strapped MSRDC, which is already in a debt of Rs 4,000 crore will have to raise an additional Rs 2,400 crore for the ambitious project. The estimated cost of the venture is Rs 5,000 crore.

If the agreement is terminated, then the present contractor will stand to lose out on anywhere between Rs 120 crore to Rs 200 crore, that he has spent on the planning, designing and various jobs related to the multi-crore project.

It is likely that the contractor will get back his security deposit. An official from MSRDC added that the corporation is very keen on developing the sea link and so will go ahead with the project. 

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