Short on cash to carry out works on the Western Express Highway pending since 2009, public works department begs MMRDA to repair the roads at a cost of Rs 51 crore
The severe financial crunch currently faced by the state Public Works Department has brought it down on its knees in front of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority.
It has, reportedly, approached MMRDA to complete long-due road work on the Western Express Highway (WEH), which is expected to cost around Rs 51 crore.
Large stretches of the Western Express Highway
are in dire need of repairs
In a meeting at Mantralaya last Thursday, PWD Minister Chhagan Bhujbal asked MMRDA officials to carry out the major works on the WEH.
"The works on the WEH, maintained by the PWD, could not be undertaken due to financial crunch," officials told MMRDA functionaries, led by additional metropolitan commissioner Ashwini Bhide, at the meeting.
Incidentally, major works on the WEH were carried out by the MMRDA between 2005 and 2009, after which the road was handed over to the PWD.
Said a source, "The PWD was expected to carry out the remainder of the work. But it failed to allocate any budget for the works, prompting local MLAs to take issue with the matter."
"The approximate budget required to complete the works is said to be Rs 51 crore," the source added.
"Now it will be made available by the MMRDA, which is also facing a financial crunch. But it will take up the work at the instance of the state government."
During a discussion in the state legislature, Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan had assured the legislators that MMRDA and PWD would sort the matter. Accordingly, the meeting was held on Thursday.
The Public Works Department has no fund to carry out the
works on the Western Express Highway, pending since 2009
Chief Secretary Ratnakar Gaikwad has also asked the authority to take up the works.
According to sources within Mantralaya, PWD has an annual budget of approximately Rs 1,500 crore for the roads.
Of this, a lion's share has been spent on roads in rural and semi-urban areas across the state, leaving no cash for the WEH.
On the to-do list
The pending works on the Western Express Highway include:
Incomplete service roads
Widening of subways at Parsi Panchayat in Andheri, Janta Colony in Jogeshwari, and in Akurli
Foot over-bridges at Teachers' Colony in Khar, Magathane and Dahisar.