The Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation’s (MSRDC) grand plan to construct a racetrack on the lines of Formula 1 tracks has hit a roadblock, with the state refusing to part with government land for the project.
However, the cash-strapped agency, which has come under flak in the past for delays in infrastructure projects like the sea link, appears adamant on going ahead with the project. It is now scouting for around 500 acres of privately-held land.
“We are not likely to get land from the state government so we are looking for private developers who hold 400-500 acres in Mumbai Metropolitan Region,” a senior MSRDC official said. However, given the high land prices in Mumbai, the project appears to be in jeopardy.
MSRDC had announced the project in October 2010, and said it was looking for around 700 acres government land in areas like Malad-Marve, Gorai, Kalyan, Navi Mumbai or close to the Mumbai-Pune Expressway.
It also appointed UK-based Capita Symonds as a consultant for the project. A racetrack for Formula 1 has already been constructed in Greater Noida by a private developer. The 5.14 km circuit has been built at a cost of Rs1,700 crore.
MSRDC is reeling under a debt of Rs 4,500 crore and has been desperately trying to take up various projects apart from its core area of responsibility in order to raise money.
Over the past one year it has floated fancy ideas like starting a housing project, building an amusement park, a racing track and even a Mumbai Eye-based on the London Eye.
These plans have been floated even as core projects like the Worli-Haji Ali Sea Link and the Passenger Water Transport system have been stuck for the last two years.
Questions are being raised on whether MSRDC should focus on such “non-essential” projects at the expense of creating road infrastructure in the city.