The much-delayed Mumbai Trans Harbour Link (MTHL) seems to be on the road to reality.
The state government has written to the City and Industrial Development Corporation of Maharashtra Ltd. (Cidco), asking it to transfer 91.77 hectares of land in Navi Mumbai to the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), which is implementing the project.
The state government's letter (a copy of which is with HT), directs Cidco to transfer the land to the MMRDA, which is in-charge of the project - on a 99-year lease. The MMRDA will not have to pay for this land.
The link, which connects Navi Mumbai to the island city and will benefit thousands of motorists who shuttle between the two cities daily, was proposed in the 1970s. But lack of permissions and failed bids have delayed the project significantly. Now, with the transfer of land, the MMRDA will finally be able to start work on the project by year-end.
Of the total land, 65.30 hectares will be used for Right of Way (the actual route) for the MTHL while 18.97 hectares will be used for building casting yard. The remaining 7.5 hectares will be given to the contractor as an incentive, as he can use it for commercial activity and raise revenue. This is because the project will start generating revenue only about five years after the construction begins, when the road is operational.
"Since the contractor will have to raise a substantial sum through loans for constructing the link, the commercial land will be given to him to raise revenue. Initially, the land will be given to the contractor on a 35-year lease. The contractor can build commercial or residential units on the land, with a Floor Space Index of 1.5," said a senior MMRDA official.
The MMRDA, however, still has some hurdles ahead as it needs to acquire 27 more hectares of land from Jasai, Chirle and Gavan villages. In addition, it has not yet got land from the Mumbai Port trust (MbPT), through which the MTHL will pass.
The MMRDA will have to provide compensation to Project Affected Persons for the remaining 27.8 hectares. The link is being built at a cost of Rs9,630 crore and is expected to be operational by 2018-19.
Once it is opened, it will quicken the commute from the island city to Navi Mumbai.