The garland freeway, a big-ticket infrastructure project of the city, is currently a favourite of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). The civic body is reportedly showing keen interest in constructing the coastal ring road project for the city.
According to sources, civic chief Subodh Kumar is eager to ensure that the BMC bags the project and plays a major role in its execution.
Last month, the state had proposed a 302-km freeway, a project that would involve building a ring road around the city. The project involves constructing coastal roads on stilts, sea-links, elevated roads and expansion of existing roads.
A high-powered joint technical committee had been appointed, consisting of members from both the Union environment ministry and the state government, to study the feasibility of the plan.
However, even before the plan gets the green nod, Kumar has started making efforts to see to it that the civic body executes and funds the project.
A senior official said: “Kumar had been speaking about his plans to bag this project. He thinks that the BMC has been kept away from big infrastructure projects. Hence, he feels that by successfully executing one of the biggest projects, the civic body can prove it is capable of projects in the future.”
Another civic official said the commissioner had even started speaking to senior officials about the funding models that would suit the civic body’s coffers. “Currently, we haven’t singled out any one funding model that would work for us. We are studying different ways to execute it, either doing it on a public-private partnership model or by raising funds by imposing a special cess.”
Civic sources added that Kumar had already started talking to various senior bureaucrats and politicians in the state. He reportedly even made a presentation to Shiv Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray.
A senior civic source said, “The civic chief realises that the project would need the green nod from the Union environment ministry. Therefore, he is lobbying hard to ensure that the proposal gets a go-ahead and the project lands in the civic body’s kitty.”
Even though officials admit that the BMC executing a project of such magnitude does seem ambitious, they remain hopeful that Kumar will find an effective way of executing it.
“One of the options could be to have a special purpose vehicle created for this project, which remains in the BMC’s control. However, these are just preliminary suggestions that have emerged. We haven’t yet taken a final call on how to execute it.”
Kumar remained unavailable for comment.
Standing committee chairman Rahul Shewale said, “This is an urgent requirement of the city and hence needs to be done. The civic chief needs to give us clarity on how he plans to fund such a project. If the state and the centre pitch in, the BMC can execute the project on its own.”