Deputy chief minister and state finance minister Ajit Pawar, on Wednesday, said that Reliance Infrastructure (RInfra) should begin work on the Haji Ali-Worli sea link by October and assured that the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) would keep up its promise of providing the required Rs1,392 crore through Viability Gap Funding (VGF). VGF is the grant provided by the state to a private partner to make the project commercially viable.
Pawar had called a meeting of senior ministers and bureaucrats to discuss the project, that has made no headway from the time MSRDC signed a contract with RInfra-led consortium in 2010.
However, Pawar steered clear of making any commitment on two contentious issues.
RInfra wanted the state government to sign a support agreement that will make it the guarantor to the MSRDC-provided VGF. A company official said that given MSRDC's poor financial health, banks were unwilling to provide finances without state backing. "Pawar did not address the issue of providing a guarantee. Unless the cabinet sub-committee headed by the CM decides, the issue can't be resolved," said a senior bureaucrat.
RInfra also wanted the state to provide a written commitment that it would not consider a coastal road along the 5.5 km stretch between Haji Ali and Worli. HT had reported on August 24 that the state-appointed Joint Technical Committee had recommended building a coastal road instead of the proposed sea link.Pawar said this was an internal matter but said that no final decision had been made on the issue.