MMTPL-government split delays project by 18 months

New underground Dahisar-Charkop-Bandra-Mankhurd Metro Line 2 project to cost Rs 29,000 crore

As the Reliance Infrastructure-led Mumbai Metro Transport Private Limited (MMTPL) and the state government terminated, by mutual agreement, the Rs 8,000 crore contract to construct Charkop-Bandra- Mankhurd Metro Line 2, one of the most important reasons for the termination is said to be the non-availability of plot for a car depot at Charkop.

Officials from Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), who requested anonymity, told sunday mid-day that, as per the concession agreement, the MMRDA had to provide the plot for the depot to the contractor something which the planning authority failed to do.

The MMRDA will now construct the newly-aligned, underground Dahisar- Charkop-Bandra-Mankhurd line, for which it will seek approval from the government during its authority meeting, to be held on November 20.

End of Public Private Partnership?
Experts said that the MMRDA will now have to retender the project and that construction work will begin only after 18 months. They also pointed out that getting Rs 29,000 crore for the new, underground project will be a difficult task.

“Now that the Metro Line 2 will be constructed underground, the cost of the construction will also increase as the length of the alignment has been increased from 32 km to 40 km.

The underground project will require Rs 29,000 crore which is a huge investment. I don’t think a private player will be interested in taking up the project on Public Private Partnership (PPP) basis.

So the MMRDA will have to depend on the state and centre for loans, along with soft loans from international banks such as Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and World Bank. It will take a minimum of 18 months for the construction work to begin,” explained a transport expert, on condition of anonymity.

New project to cost Rs 29,000 crore
Metropolitan Commissioner UPS Madan said that they recently had a meeting with Union Minister of Environment and Forest (MoEF) Prakash Javadekar.

“We presented a new plan for the underground project at the meeting. We also told the minister that to start work, it is important to have a car depot in place and that the MoEF should consider clearing permissions.”

Previously, the MoEF did not grant permission for the depot due to mangrove plantations on the land adjacent to the proposed depot. An MMRDA official, requesting anonymity, said, “We were also not able to provide MMTPL the 100 per cent unencumbered Right of Way and place for the casting yard.”

Another source added, “The cost of the project, while awarding the contract, was close to R8000 crore. But over the years, due to the delay, the cost rose close Rs 12,000 crore.”

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