In a first of its kind endeavour, private business houses and an export promotion wing of the central government may fund the construction of five underground stations on the Colaba-Bandra-SEEPZ underground metro.
The decision to fund these stations stems from the understanding that the construction of a Metro in the area will help the business of these companies to flourish.
Three of the stations — Domestic Airport Station, the Sahar Road station and the International Airport Station — will be funded by Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL).
The MMRDA has also turned to the Centre’s ministry of commerce to fund two stations — MIDC and SEEPZ — under the Assistance to States for Infrastructure Development for Exports (ASIDE), as a large number of export units are placed at these two places.
Under this scheme, the Centre provides help in creating infrastructure to facilitate unhindered production, to cut down the cost of production and make exports internationally competitive.
The cost of all the five stations is expected to be around Rs1,000 crore. “The Metro and its respective stations will help the businesses around the area. Creation of the stations will not only help the city’s residents but will also be helping the business houses,” said additional metropolitan commissioner SVR Srinivas.
MIAL is keen on funding the stations as the Metro will help improve connectivity to the airport. It has however raised objection to MMRDA’s plans to not have Metro service at night when most international flights are scheduled for take-off. With MIAL willing to help build the stations in the airport area, MMRDA officials have shown willingness to solve this problem.
The Colaba-Bandra-SEEPZ underground Metro is Mumbai’s costliest infrastructure project till date. The MMRDA is planning to build the Metro with the help of funds from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). However many sceptics have pointed out that the project seems to be not viable due to its steep cost.
The MMRDA is now taking measures to ensure that the project takes off and is scouting for other business houses that could voluntarily fund construction of some stations so that the Rs 21,666 crore cost is shared.