Even as the Mumbai State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) is facing flak for the delay in completing its infrastructure projects, the agency is increasingly looking at taking up projects outside its core area of operation.
After planning an amusement park, a racing track and the Mumbai Eye - based on the London Eye - the cash-strapped agency, desperate looking for money-raising avenues, is now eyeing the housing sector. The MSRDC is planning to build a residential complex, project under the Public Housing Scheme and is looking for consultants to plan and implement the entire project.
MSRDC vice-chairman and managing director Bipin Shrimali confirmed the agency's plans, but claimed that the exercise was in the planning stage.
The 86-acre plot, located at Lodhivli, in the Khalapur Taluka near Panvel, is close to both the Mumbai-Pune Expressway and the old Mumbai-Pune highway. MSRDC had earlier planned to use this land as a truck terminus and a commercial outfit but gave up after there were no takers.
Now, with a slew of projects like the Mumbai Trans Harbour Link and the multi-modal corridor providing greater connectivity to the area, the agency believes that a residential project would be more profitable. MSRDC will set aside a part of the project for low-cost housing while a part of the project can be sold in the open market.
Reeling under a debt of nearly Rs 4, 000 crore, the agency has no source of income for its infrastructure projects. Even the state claims that it will no longer fund the agency's projects in the city.
Many of MSRDC's projects like the Worli-Haji Ali sea link have been stalled because private agencies building these projects do not have faith in MSRDC's ability to pay them the viability-gap funding, given by state agencies to private operators to make the infrastructure projects economically viable for the operators.
Some of the attempts of the agency to generate revenue, which are in the planning stages, include two IT parks on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway, a three or five start hotel in Shirdi and a seven-acre race track.