The Worli Haji Ali Sea Link, which has been stalled for almost two years due to differences between the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) and Reliance Infra, is likely to get a push with the arbitrator’s recommendations expected this week.
Both the parties, who had signed a concession agreement in June 2010 for building the bridge, have been accusing each other of reneging on the terms of the contract. With each threatening to call off the deal, an arbitrator was appointed last year to help find a solution.
The arbitrator, retired high court judge BP Singh, will give his recommendations this week, which is expected to ensure that construction on the high-profile project, which has been under planning for over a decade, begins.
“We will plan our future course of action based on the recommendations,” MSRDC vice chairman and managing director Bipin Shrimali said.
In December last year, MSRDC had threatened to call off the contract if RInfra did not start work by January.
RInfra, however, maintained that it is in no position to start work until MSRDC fulfils promises made to it, including handing over off the casting yard land at Bandra and the state’s assurance that it would guarantee payment of Rs1,392 crore viability gap funding (VGF).
RInfra is also worried that the proposed coastal road project being planned by the state would make the Worli Haji Ali sea link redundant. MSRDC officials have claimed that handing over of the casting yard land is not part of the agreement.
MSRDC has also verbally assured that it will pay the VGF, but RInfra is sceptical due to the corporation’s precarious financial condition, and wants the state to assure the payment in case MSRDC defaults.
Both the parties have been negotiating for over two years to sort out their problems but have still not been able to find a solution.
While RInfra has claimed that it is ready to start work provided MSRDC fulfils its commitments, the latter has given indications that it may cancel the contract. “If work does not begin soon, we will be forced to scrap the contract and re-bid the entire project,” Shrimali said.