For residents of Navi Mumbai, a 47- year wait has yielded no results.
The Rs 8,000-crore 22-km Mumbai Trans Harbour Link was touted as the economic gateway to Navi Mumbai, but the sea bridge that was to connect Nhava to Sewri got caught in corporate crossfire. Far from seeing the light of day, even work on it has not yet begun.
Based on the 1962 study ‘Planning of a Road System for Mumbai Metropolitan Region’, the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) had in 1994 undertaken a feasibility study of the sealink. The study was updated in 2004 and tenders called in 2006.
Mukesh and Anil Ambani both wanted to build it. Anil was disqualified, after which he approached court. He was then allowed to bid again. Anil became the preferred bidder, putting Mukesh out of the race. But Anil backed out after government delays.
The project that would have seen the free movement of 50,000 vehicles per day, and was touted as the prime instrument of horizontal growth in centres outside Mumbai, is still languishing.
The government then decided to build it on a cash contract basis, funded by the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Agency But the proposal was cold-shouldered by contractors.
The government has now decided to build it through a public-private partnership. “The Centre has given in-principle approval for 20 per cent viability gap funding [the money required to make the project profitable for the contractors]. Tenders will be called soon,” promised Metropolitan Commissioner Ratnakar Gaikwad.