The citizens of Mumbai will have to cough up Rs. 900 crore more than the estimated cost of the Middle Vaitarna irrigation project being built by the BMC to increase water supply to the city.
Doubts are being raised over the massive 58% cost escalation, especially since there is no major design change or addition in capacity. The original cost of the dam being built in Thane district was Rs. 1,300 crore, when the BMC, ruled by the Shiv Sena-BJP, floated tenders in 2007. However, now the spend has ballooned to Rs2,207 crore.
Civic officials attribute the escalation to a steady rise in material and production costs as work progressed and delay in seeking approvals. “We had prepared the rough estimates when the project was envisioned in 2004. However, when tenders were invited in 2007, the bids were much higher,” said Rajendra Borse, chief engineer of BMC’s water supply projects department.
The dam will supply 455 million liters of water daily when it is operational in May.