Get on with the work: MMRDA tells contractor
Three years after the bhoomipujan of the CBM metro line, the contractor has still not begun work, prompting the MMRDA to give it an ultimatum
The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) plans to officially inform Mumbai Metro Transport Private Limited (MMTPL) that they should either start work on the Charkop-Bandra-Mankhurd (CBM) metro corridor at the earliest, or make their stand clear on the project. MMTPL, the contractor of the project has not yet started work on the 32 km-long corridor saying that no action can be taken till the issues of setting up a casting yard and car depot are solved.
The bhoomipujan ceremony of the project was conducted by former president Pratibha Patil on August 18, 2009. However apart from doing the soil testing work, no progress has taken place.
Speaking to MiD DAY, a senior MMRDA official said, “By now, the work on the corridor should have started as it has been clearly mentioned in the concession agreement that it is the job of the contractor to get the space for the casting yard. However, even three years after the bhoomipujan was conducted, the contractor is yet to begin work.”
A few days ago, the same issue was discussed between senior MMRDA officials and now, they have decided that the contractor will be asked to start the work as soon as possible.
When questioned whether MMRDA would ask the contractor to move out of the project, the official said, “We will just ask them to start work soon and if they are not able to start, it is obvious that they will leave the project.” If the contract of the project is cancelled, it would be second major infrastructure project to have ended in this manner, the first being the Worli-Haji Ali Sea Link.
MMRDA Commissioner Rahul Asthana said, “As per the terms and conditions of the contract for CBM metro line, MMRDA is supposed to make arrangements for the car depot and is not bound to give a plot for a casting yard. Now we will be telling them to start work at the earliest.”
Asthana further said, “We will ask the consortium (contractor) to start groundwork, if they are unable to start, we cannot keep waiting.” The planning had received conditional clearances for establishing car depots at Mankhurd and Charkop from the environment ministry, as it falls under Coastal Regulation Zone. Due to this reason as well as delay in its implementation, the cost of the project too has considerably increased from its original estimate of Rs 7,660 crore.
Sources from the MMTPL said, “With the current status of clearances, it is not possible for us to start construction. There is uncertainty about the location of the car depot, and the alignment of the rail at each end. 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 undertaking in court not to start construction of stations without bringing the necessary legislation into place. We cannot plan our vertical profile, since it is not known at what vertical level will we be able to exploit the commercial space, whether above or below the platform levels.”