Delays continue to bog Metro II; contractor could lose contract
The second metro rail corridor contract between Charkop-Bandra-Mankhurd (CBM) has run into trouble due to delays in its construction and the contractor faces the danger of losing his contract for the project.
The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) has decided to inform the project’s contractor to start work on the project at the earliest, failing which the company faces the punishment of losing the contract.
“It should be noted that the ground breaking ceremony of the CBM corridor was done three years ago. However the actual work on the line has not started yet as the contractor has told us that they cannot start the work unless the car depot issue and the casting yard issues have been resolved,” an MMRDA source told MiD DAY.
If the contract of the project is cancelled then this would be second major infrastructure project that to have ended in this manner, the first being the Worli–Haji Ali Sea Link.
According to MMRDA Commissioner Rahul Asthana, “As per the terms and conditions of the contract for CBM metro line, MMRDA is supposed to make arrangements for the car depot and not bound to give plot for casting yard. Now we would be telling them that they should start the work at the earliest.”
The project’s ground-breaking ceremony was conducted by former President Pratibha Patil on August 18, 2008, for the 32-km long metro rail corridor. However, apart from the soil testing work, there has been no other progress.
Asthana added, “We will ask the consortium (contractor) to start ground work, if they are unable to start, then we can not keep waiting.”
The planning had received conditional clearances for establishing car depots at Mankhurd and Charkop from environment ministry as it falls under CRZ. Due to the environmental hurdles as well as the delay in its implementation, the cost of the project has also escalated considerably from its original estimate of Rs 7,660 crore.
Commenting on the issue, an official from the contractor, Mumbai Metro Transport Private Limited (MMTPL), requesting anonymity said, “With the current status of clearances, it is not physically possible for us to start construction. With the uncertainty on depot, even its location. The alignment is uncertain at the ends. There is no casting yard.”
The official added, “MMRDA is yet to take any action on the underground utilities or overhead high tension lines. The DCR revision is pending and MMRDA have given an undertaking in court not to start construction of stations without bringing the necessary legislation into place. We cannot plan our vertical profile, since it’s unclear at what vertical level will we be able to exploit the commercial space, whether will it be above or below the platform levels. This will impact the whole vertical profile.”