With the much-awaited 22.5-km Mumbai Trans-Harbour Link (MTHL) failing to find takers again, officials are looking at alternative ways to build the project, which is expected to improve road connectivity between Mumbai and Navi Mumbai.
The MMRDA has plans to complete MTHL either on cash contract basis, under which the authority will bear the whole cost of the project, or on annuity mode, where the contractor will invest in the project and MMRDA will pay a fixed amount annually to the company for a specific period.
Under the mode, MMRDA will collect toll tax, which will be used to pay the contractor.
“We are going to take a decision in one month’s time and then it will be proposed to the state government,” said UPS Madan, MMRDA commissioner.
At present, the MMRDA had adopted the Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode, under which the contractor was supposed to earn revenue through toll tax collected from the motorists using MTHL.
However, consortia seemed to have pulled out of the project owing to concern over revenues they would be able to collect from motorists.
An official from one of the consortia said they backed off anticipating low traffic turnout on the MTHL.
“Apart from economic slowdown, we were concerned about low traffic on the MTHL as the airport project in Nav Mumbai has got delayed,” said the official.
“Due to delay in the Nav Mumbai airport project, the MTHL was supposed to witness low traffic for the first five years But, we had offered them [consortia] a soft loan of around Rs1000 crore, so in case of low traffic for the initial few years the contractor could pay the bank loan taken to build the project,” said MMRDA additional commissioner Ashwini Bhide.