After several failed attempts, the ambitious Mumbai Trans Harbour Link (MTHL) is likely to take off soon. The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) is going to invite tenders for the construction of the sea link by end of this month. It expects construction to start by March 2017.
Recently, MMRDA received CRZ and forest clearance from the Union environment ministry, clearing all hurdles in the way of the project.
Considering the enormous amount of construction activities involved, the MMRDA has divided the sea link project in three parts and appoint separate contractors for each section.
As a part of the tendering process, the request for qualification (RFQ) (stage 1) will be invited by March end, and, subsequently, shortlisted bidders will be asked to submit the request for proposal (RFP) (stage 2) in June this year. MMRDA commissioner UPS Madan said “There will be three packages for the execution of MTHL. According to our anticipation, a contractor will be appointed by the end of this year, and actual construction will commence by March next year.”
The 22-km MTHL is expected to provide faster, shorter and comfortable connectivity to Navi Mumbai International Airport, JNPT along with the highways going to Pune and Goa.
After it failed to take off on Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode, MMRDA took the decision to build the sea link on cash contract, with financial assistance from a global agency. MMRDA is in talks with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for loan.
JICA is expected to extend loan amounting to up to 80% of the project cost. JICA is going to sign loan agreement with the central government in March this year.
Meanwhile, MMRDA has decided to make substantial allotment for MTHL in its upcoming finance budget to ensure construction of MTHL is not delayed in case the loan from JICA is delayed.
The project cost has now escalated to Rs11,000 crore from previous Rs9,600 crore.
The MTHL already has seen three failed attempts so far. The project, which was conceived in 1970 and was approved by the state government in 1996, was attempted to be constructed in 2005 and 2008. However, poor planning and implementation led to failure of the tendering process. In August, 2013, it failed to take off on a Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode that has forced MMRDA to construct it on cash contract by seeking financial assistance from JICA.