The Maharashtra government is planning to step in and fund the long-pending Mumbai Trans Harbour Link (MTHL) project so that it is ready by the time the Navi Mumbai International Airport (NMIA) is operational.
Anticipating a delay owing to what they think could be a time-consuming process, the government may do away with the plan of taking a loan from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
The loan process, which is expected to take another two years as the funding agency insists on examining feasibility of the project, will delay the MTHL project significantly, say officials.
In a meeting held recently, the officials from Mumbai Metropolitan Re gion Development Authority (MMRDA), City and Industrial Development Corporation of Maharashtra Ltd (Cidco) and Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) discussed a proposal to share the project cost.
At present, MMRDA is still in consultation with the Japanese bank, seeking financial assistance for the Rs11,000 crore project.
“The work on MTHL cannot start for the next two years owing to time to be taken for the JICA loan to come through. We want this project to start before the new airport is operational. To avoid unnecessary delays, the three agencies have expressed their willingness to pool in funds for the project. It will allow us to start tendering process soon,” said a senior official, requesting anonymity.
The officials from the three agencies are set to hold a meeting with the chief secretary to discuss the feasibility of the new funding plan. “Subsequently, the proposal will be forwarded to the chief minister for approval,” the official added.
After the project failed to take off on public private partnership (PPP) mode in August 2013, the MMRDA had decided to develop it on cash contract mode with the financial assistance from JICA.
While the cash-rich MMRDA and Cidco will be able to secure maximum funds for the project, financial assistance from the Centre through viability gap funding and various Central government schemes will be sought as well, informed a source close to the development.
The 22-km MTHL will connect Sewri and Chirle, in Navi Mumbai, which will provide faster, shorter and comfortable connectivity to NMIA and JNPT, along with the highways connecting Pune and Goa.