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Road corporation seeks bailout

The state’s road development corporation, which made the Mumbai-Pune Expressway and Bandra-Worli sealink possible, is almost bankrupt, thanks to government apathy, reports Dharmendra Jore.

india Updated: Jun 01, 2009 01:29 IST
Dharmendra Jore

The state’s road development corporation, which made the Mumbai-Pune Expressway and Bandra-Worli sealink possible, is almost bankrupt, thanks to government apathy.

The Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) has stopped paying its contractors from its near empty coffers after the state failed to pay the support cost of Rs 2,300 crore for several projects.

The road development corporation, which will build the proposed trans-oceanic 22-km bridge between Sewri and Nhava Sheva, has a total liability of about Rs 4,400 crore.

The Shiv Sena-BJP government had conceived the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation 13 years ago for constructing the Mumbai-Pune Expressway. Later, the agency took up several other projects. A source in the MSRDC blamed the state for putting the corporation in deep financial trouble.

“MSRDC hasn’t received Rs 2,300 crore from the state government that it had promised as support cost for several projects that we have finished and undertook few years ago,” he said, requesting anonymity.

“Rising project costs have added to our woes. The fate of several infrastructure projects hangs in balance because we have no money to pay our aggrieved contractors.”

However, the Rs 6,000-crore Sewri-Nhava Sheva trans-harbour link faces no financial trouble, the official added.

A much-healthier Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority, Maharashtra Industry Development Corporation and City and Industry Development Corporation will together invest in the project. MSRDC will execute the project.

Two days ago, several contractors, including the one whose company finished the much-waited Bandra-Worli sealink work early this month, petitioned Chief Minister Ashok Chavan for help.

On Thursday, MSRDC urged Chavan to immediately bail out the road corporation. Chavan is reported to have asked officials to prepare a bail out package that includes an option of floating bonds in the open market to raise money for MSRDC. Sources said there was no word on the amount the government was supposed to pay in long-pending dues.

Chief Minister and MSRDC minister in-charge Vimal Mundada were unreachable.

MSRDC vice-chairman and managing director Satish Gavai said there was nothing to fear, including the possibility of closing the corporation for want of money.

“The chief minister has assured us every assistance,” said Gavai.