Ongoing projects get priority in budget | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Ongoing projects get priority in budget

Aiming to give ongoing projects priority, the civic budget has put a few ambitious ones on the backburner for the moment. Bhavika Jain and Sujit Mahamulkar report.

mumbai Updated: Feb 06, 2011 01:22 IST

Aiming to give ongoing projects priority, the civic budget has put a few ambitious ones on the backburner for the moment. The first casualty of the ‘realistic’ budget presented by municipal commissioner Subodh Kumar, on Friday, was the proposed seven underground parking lots in Crawford Market, Regal and Hutatma Chowk.

The project was awarded to the European company WOHR Parking System Pvt Ltd, which is a consortium that includes the Vyas Group, of which Girish Vyas, who is also the son-in-law of senior Shiv Sena leader Manohar Joshi, is its managing director.

It is the first project being implemented under the build-operate-transfer (BOT) basis. The project ended up being controversial as, unlike other BOT projects where the private partner brings in the funds, the BMC agreed to fund the entire cost of Rs 440 crore and hand it over to a private company to run it.

Now, Kumar, in his budget this year, has allocated only Rs 100 crore. Last year the same project was provided Rs 173 crore, but work has not begun. This time, the civic body was expected to allocate more.

“Even to begin the project, which is extremely challenging, requires at least half the proposed cost. But, by allocating a far less amount, the commissioner has indicated that it is off his priority list,” a senior civic official pointed out.

Under the project, two underground parking lots will be near Crawford market while five others will be near Regal with a capacity for parking 1,400 vehicles. The proposal also mentions that the contractor will run the parking lots for 30 years before transferring it to the BMC.

Officials also added that the proposal was a tricky one as, if the project was started without proper planning, it would mean shutting down of roads in south Mumbai, leading to complete chaos.

Meanwhile, other projects like the wax museum, the Juhu vision project, aimed at linking the open spaces in that area, and the open space linkage plan of south Mumbai have got a budgetary allocation just to keep them on track.