Why is Worli-Haji Ali link taking so long? | india | Hindustan Times
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Why is Worli-Haji Ali link taking so long?

india Updated: Jul 09, 2009 00:55 IST
Zeeshan Shaikh
Zeeshan Shaikh
Hindustan Times
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The state regularly says infrastructure projects for the city are priority, but its progress on the Worli-Haji Ali sealink challenges that claim.

After nearly 154 days and over 20 cabinet meetings, it still hasn’t named the winning bid.

In February, Reliance Infrastructure-Hyundai emerged as preferred bidder for the Worli-Haji Ali leg of the Western Freeway Sealink project, connecting Bandra to Nariman Point.

Reliance-Hyundai had then asked the state for Rs 1,392 crore as viability gap funding while its nearest competitor HCC-John Laing-Samsung quoted Rs 2,466 crore. Viability gap funding is the amount the state gives to private infrastructure players so the burden of recovering the investment is not entirely passed on to the commuter, and toll rates are kept low.

In February, it said a decision would be taken in 15 days. That decision is yet to come.

“The cabinet committee on infrastructure will meet next week and hopefully take a decision on the project,” PWD minister in charge of MSRDC, Vimal Mundada, said. Consultants ARUP-CES and Ernst&Young have evaluated the financial bids.

The sealink, from Bandra to Haji Ali, will mean uninterrupted connectivity through an 8-km road over the sea.

The basic construction cost is Rs 1,120 crore. But to ensure that the winning bidder also manages the toll from the Bandra-Worli stretch, the winning bidder will also have to buy the 4.7-km Bandra-Worli leg from MSRDC for Rs 1,640 crore.

The total cost of the Bandra-Haji Ali section, plus maintenance cost for the entire bridge, is pegged at Rs 4,500 crore.

After paying the state Rs 1,640 crore for the Bandra-Worli stretch, the winning bidder will get rights to collect toll for the entire bridge from Bandra to Haji Ali, which it can recover in about 40 years.

After 40 years, it will be handed over to the state.