The Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC), the agency responsible for building roads and sea links in the state, has decided to push its claim over building the ambitious Mumbai Trans Harbour Link before chief minister Prithviraj Chavan next month.
Minister in charge of MSRDC, Jaydutt Kshirsagar, told HT: “We are not going to give up our claim over the project. I have conveyed my point of view to the new CM and plan to meet him on the issue soon.’’
The Mumbai Trans Harbour Link (MTHL), a six-lane sea bridge that will connect the island city to the mainland, has been pending for the last two years over a feud between two government agencies, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) and the MSRDC, over rights to implement the project. With the new airport at Panvel getting a go ahead, Kshirsagar said the MTHL was a vital infrastructure project that was just awaiting the chief minister’s nod.
Both the agencies have prepared feasibility studies and submitted different proposals on how the project can be implemented. Former chief minister, Ashok Chavan, was in favour of the MMRDA implementing the project but with the change in guard, the MSRDC wants to try its best to wrest the project back.
If deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar puts his weight behind Kshirsagar, the agency may get a chance to build the bridge.
“The MMRDA has two lakh other development projects. This has always been our project,” Kshirsagar said. “We have got a promise of 20% viability gap funding from the Centre. We have got all environmental clearances. Why should we let go of it?’’
The tussle between the two agencies has its origins in political competition between the allies. The MMRDA is chaired by a Congress chief minister while the MSRDC comes under an NCP minister. Ashok Chavan was keen on keeping the project under his hand. It now remains to be seen which way the current chief minister will go.