MSRDC to meet CM, ask about Worli-Haji Ali Sea Link's fate

Feb 19, 2013, 08:02 IST | Ranjeet Jadhav

Officials are eager to get the nod from the cabinet committee to cancel their existing contract with Reliance-Hyundai and begin the project afresh; however, it's hope of financial aid from the state government may be misplaced

Tired of twiddling its thumbs while the cabinet committee forinfrastructure takes its own sweet time to decide the fate of the Worli-Haji Ali Sea Link (WHSL), MSRDC officials have asked for an appointment with the Chief Minister to discuss the issue and seek answers as to when it can start working on the project.

More than a year ago, the contract for construction of the WHSL was awarded to the Reliance-Hyundai consortium, but the work was never flagged off, after issues cropped up over the casting yard for the project. The MSRDC now wishes to scrap the contract with Reliance-Hyndai and take over the project. At its board meeting held in August 2012, MSRDC had referred its fresh proposal for the WHSL to the state cabinet committee on infrastructure, which was to take a final call.

In the pipeline: The proposed Worli-Haji Ali sea link will connect motorists driving from Worli sea-face to Haji Ali. The sea link will help in easing congestion on roads. File Pic

An official from MSRDC said, “Once the cabinet committee on infrastructure gives its decision on scrapping the existing contract, the corporation will explore options for funding the project and appoint a consultant to carry out a study for the same.”

Great expectations?
Another source from MSRDC said, “As Reliance-Hyndai has failed to start work on the sea link, we have decided that once the infrastructure committee scraps the contract, we will take help from the government to raise funds for the construction of the link. We have already asked for an appointment with the chief minister to discuss the issue, so that the project sees the light of the day.”

MSRDC is confident that it can construct the WHSL at an estimated cost of Rs 2,600 crore. Reliance-Hyundai had estimated an expenditure of Rs 2,800 crore for the same.

“We will be raising funds for the project through the securitisation of the Bandra-Worli Sea Link and the proposed WHSL. Through securitisation, a contractor will be given rights to collect toll from both the sea links for a period of 40 years, after he makes an upfront payment, which will then be used to construct phase-1 of the WHSL. For the remaining construction work, we will take help from government agencies like MMRDA.”

There is no basis for the MSRDC’s confidence in getting financial help from the state government. The MSRDC had earlier requested the state government to provide it a Viability Gap Funding (VGF) of Rs 1,392 crore. The government turned down the request.

Asked if the MMRDA would help out with funds for the WHSL if the MSRDC asks for it, a senior MMRDA official said, “As of now we cannot commit to anything. We already have many projects in the pipeline, so it is really difficult to say whether we will fund the project or not.” 

Rs 2,600 cr The projected cost of constructing the Worli-Haji Ali Sea Link

The beginning
On 28 June 28, 2010, MSRDC signed a contract with Reliance Sea Link One (RSLOPL), a consortium of Reliance Infrastructure and Hyundai Engineering and Construction to construct the Worli-Haji Ali Sea Link bridge

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