'Second Metro line becoming unviable' | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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'Second Metro line becoming unviable'

mumbai Updated: Nov 27, 2011 02:00 IST
Zeeshan Shaikh
Zeeshan Shaikh
Hindustan Times
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Around 27 months after the state government gave the contract to build the Rs 12,000-crore Charkop-Bandra-Mankhurd Metro, to Reliance Infrastructure (RInfra), the company has expressed its displeasure.

In a letter written to the chief minister, a worried RInfra head, Anil Gupta, said the Metro line is under threat of becoming unviable because of bureaucratic delays.

Gupta said the delays in fulfilling the promises made under the concession agreement is not only delaying the project but is also making it unviable for the company.

"The inordinate delay in commencement of the project implementation, which is beyond the control of Reliance, will have severe repercussions on the project economics including its viability," Gupta said.

The incident has highlighted the state's lack of planning in preparing for the project, which has not taken off in spite a contract being signed in January 2010.

Work was expected to begin by January 2011 and was to be completed in five years. In the present situation, however, work may not begin for another 12 months.

One of the major mistakes made by the state has been in the selection of land for the car depot where the Metro cars would be parked and serviced. The depot was to be made at Charkop and Mankhurd.

The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) selected the land, which comes under the Coastal Regulation Zone.

The Environment Ministry decided not to grant permission for the depot until it is built on an elevated surface and had placed heavy restrictions including disallowing maintenance activity.

The MMRDA has promised an alternate plot. However, there has been no concrete action.

Also, the agency has provided only 35% right of way for the entire project. Right of way is the area that is free of encroachments and is cleared for construction. Reliance Infra had been demanding a 50% right of way before it began work.

"We are addressing the concerns raised to ensure that work on the project begins quickly," Metropolitan Commissioner Rahul Asthana said.