For the first time since the second phase of Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP) started in June 2010, the World Bank has put a red mark on Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation’s (MRVC) report card for planning and execution.
Unhappy with the overall implementation of MUTP-2A, which is estimated to cost about Rs. 5,300 crore and was undertaken to improve the city’s railway infrastructure, the World Bank has downgraded the project’s rating to ‘moderate unsatisfactory’. Till November 2012, the project had maintained a ‘moderately satisfactory’ rating for overall implementation.
However, the World Bank’s latest report states a subsequent delay in obtaining EMUs (rakes or suburban trains) despite more than half the loan being spent on it. Neither have design clearances been completed, nor equipment for prototype trains delivered, although the deadline was February 2013.
“These delays adversely impact the disbursement under the project. Considering subsequent delays after the last mission, the implementation progress in Implementation Status and Results is rated as Moderately Unsatisfactory,” stated the World Bank’s report. It also expressed unhappiness about a delay in appointment of an independent director to Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation (MRVC) by the Maharashtra government. The March 2013 report is based on project review by a World Bank team headed by Atul Agrawal.
The MUTP-2A includes components such as procuring 72 new EMU rakes, switching from direct to alternate current and creating new stabling lines for suburban rakes. According to railway sources, while the DC-AC conversion project is progressing well, the arrival of new rakes is behind the schedule.
However, the World Bank has given a satisfactory rating for the progress towards achievement of project development objectives.
On the condition of anonymity, a former MRVC official said that the negative feedback from the World Bank, could help MRVC pressurise other agencies to speed up the project.
Despite repeated efforts, the spokesperson of the World Bank neither replied to phone calls nor text massages. Agarwal, too, refused to comment. The MRVC chairman and managing director admitted to the downgrade and added that the review was routine process.