Mumbai's coastal road is a major guzzler even before its launch

Updated: Dec 22, 2016, 20:08 IST | Laxman Singh

Project cost escalates to Rs 15,094 crore; BMC blames change in alignment and delay for it

BMC changed the alignment after heritage committee shot it down fearing seaside spots like Marine Drive promenade may be ruined

BMC changed the alignment after heritage committee shot it down fearing seaside spots like Marine Drive promenade may be ruined

The ambitious coastal road is likely to break the bank even before it begins. The project’s estimate has shot up by Rs 4,904 from Rs 11,000. Civic officials are now blaming this cost escalation for the delay in beginning work.

Owing to the change in alignment of the coastal road — after the heritage committee shot down the plan in Sep­tember on grounds that it could destroy iconic seaside spots — and the subsequent delay, the civic body has drawn up a fresh estimate of Rs 15,094 crore for the project.

mid-day had in September reported that the civic body planned to shift the Marine Drive promenade into the sea, with the coastal road beginning at the stretch close to the Princess Street flyover. We also reported a month later that BMC had buckled and rejigged the plan to leave the Queen’s Necklace untouched. It decided to construct a cantilever next to the flyover and into the sea.

Deadline missed
The project has been split into two phases — from the Princess Street flyover to the Worli-end of the Bandra-Worli Sea Link (9.98 km), and the Bandra-Kandivli stretch — to ease construction.

The project estimate alone isn’t to blame for the delay in beginning work; BMC also missed the October deadline to get necessary environmental clearances. It has now set a fresh deadline of October 2017 to begin work on the 29.20 km coastal road.

mid-day’s October 10 report on the BMC rejigging its plan

mid-day’s October 10 report on the BMC rejigging its plan

Pending approvals
Dr Sanjay Mukherjee, additio­nal municipal commissioner (projects), said, “As of now, our priority is to begin work on the first phase of the project. We have got NOCs from eight agencies. Permissions from a few more agencies like the Coastal Regulation Zone clearance from the ministry of environment and forests are pending. We hope to get them soon.”

Asked about the delay and the cost escalation, he said, “After a peer review of the detailed project report, we have made certain changes in alignment and accordingly, the estimate has changed. Once we start work, the cost may go down.”

Senior civic officials said the first phase of the project is likely to cost Rs 5,303 crore and the second on 19.22 km Rs 9,791 crore.

A senior civic official the estimate may further increase. “If the coastal road is extended till Mira Road, as announced by the state government, then the cost of the project will rise further by at least Rs 2,000 crore,” he said.

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