The development authority has to shell out Rs 8-10 crore annually for maintenance of both the Eastern and Western Express Highways
Liquor shops and bars on the highways would be operational once again. File pics
In a temporary relief for the owners of all the liquor shops and bars on highways, which had to down shutters following Supreme Court's order, the Public Works Department (PWD) issued a government resolution on Friday announcing that the Eastern and Western Express Highways would be de-notified and handed over to the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) for a period of five years.
The copy of the GR, which is in possession of mid-day, states as MMRDA is implementing infrastructure projects on the two arterial roads, the PWD has decided to hand over the maintenance and repair work of the stretches within Mumbai to the development authority.
On April 10, MMRDA had written a letter to PWD saying that as they were already carrying out important projects like metro rail, flyovers, elevated road constructions, Mumbai Trans Harbour Link etc on the highways, it would be easier for them to conduct the maintenance work as well. With the added responsibility, the development authority will also have to carry out minor repair works, for which it has to shell out R8-10 crore annually. Speaking to mid-day, MMRDA joint project director Dilip Kawatkar said, "We will be looking after the maintenance of both the Eastern and Western Express Highways for the next five years."
Not a huge sum
Requesting anonymity, a former PWD official said, "It was a wise decision to handover the highways to MMRDA, as they are already working on projects to be implemented on both the stretches. The amount that they have to spend on the repair work every year, is not a huge sum." Meanwhile, MMRDA officials confirmed that it would not be difficult for them to manage the additional work as they have close to a total of 100 engineers.