The Japanese may soon play a part in funding Mumbai’s infrastructure.
Members of the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) held detailed discussions with Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) about funding the first underground metro in the city.
“We had a positive round of discussions. The funding issue now is on the rolling plan of the central government’s department of economic affairs. Hence, it will be executed on a priority basis,” said metropolitan commissioner Rahul Asthana.
The MMRDA is planning to build a Rs18,000-crore underground metro stretching from Colaba to Bandra Kurla Complex stretching till the international airport. There had been apprehensions over whether the agency would get any parties willing to pledge this high an amount for the project. The MMRDA had been contemplating seeking a loan from the World Bank or JICA for the project.
The JICA members have asked the MMRDA to prepare Environment Impact Assessment and Social Impact Assessment reports for the project.
MMRDA officials said that the agency is quite positive about funding the metro and if things go as per plan, the loan agreement may be signed next year between March and September. “There are various issues that need to be addressed. Technical evaluation and financial evaluation are two major components. JICA has promised they will provide technical assistance free of cost,” Asthana said.
If the Centre sanctions the funding plan, this line will be the city’s most expensive metro line. This 35-km stretch will reduce the travel time between the two ends from 105 minutes to 60 minutes.