The city’s first underground Metro line got a major fillip from the Centre, with finance minister Pranab Mukherjee mentioning the Colaba-Bandra project in the budget. The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) is now planning to expedite work on the project and will approach the government for funding clearances.
The MMRDA had earlier planned the Metro as an underground line with 17 km from Colaba to Mahim completely underground, while the remaining three km were to be elevated till Bandra.
But, due to the high cost of building an underground Metro, the MMRDA decided to construct it partly underground and partly elevated.
The new proposal envisages a 10-km underground stretch between Colaba and Mahalaxmi and a 10-km elevated stretch between Mahalaxmi and Bandra.
The cost for the project was earlier pegged at Rs 8,857 crore, but current estimates could set MMRDA back by Rs 12,000 crore.
MMRDA was looking at getting funds from the Centre as viability gap funding, but the Centre said it was too high. The MMRDA would have needed VGF worth Rs 5,000 crore from the Centre, the highest for any infrastructure project. The MMRDA is now looking at loans of Rs 7,200 cr from financial institutions such as the Japanese International Cooperation Agency and World Bank.
MMRDA officials claim the mention of the Metro by the FM in the budget speech will ensure that it will get off the ground soon.
“We are hopeful that with the mention in the budget we will get clearances to start the project soon,” joint metropolitan commissioner Ashwini Bhide said.