A World Bank official blamed the state government for delay in implementing the Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP) aimed at upgrading road and rail transport in Mumbai.
Hubert Nove Josserand, Urban Transport Specialist, World Bank said the state government is lagging behind in planning infrastructure projects.
He was addressing a seminar on ‘Physical Infrastructure in Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR)’ organised by citizen group Bombay First.
“The project’s time table was an issue as there was lack of proper planning from the concept stage itself,” said Josserand.
The MUTP is one of the largest infrastructure projects undertaken in the metropolis. It includes road and rail components. The road component includes road widening to enable two east-west linkages, road over bridges and getting new non-polluting buses by BEST. It also includes Rehabilitating and Resettlement of displaced people.
Hindustan Times on November 9 had reported that the state and Centre governments had not complied with certain conditions of the World Bank within the stipulated period. And, this would result in the city not getting half of the funds for the MUTP.
But Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority, which is implementing the project in the city, did not take Josserand’s remarks too well.
“It is easy to criticise but we have rehabilitated thousands of affected people. One should remember that rehabilitation and resettlement are the most tedious task of any project,” said Gaikwad.
Former Chief Secretary Ajit Nimbalkar criticised the World Bank, saying that there were adopting its own policies contrary to that of the state. “When the state had kept 1995 as cut-off date, the World Bank had another policy. How can there be two different parameters?” asked Nimbalkar.
The World Bank’s rules while funding the project says all people irrespective of the cut-off date of their house or shop be rehabilitated.
Josserand was also unhappy over the manner in which the infrastructure projects are planned. “The Bandra-Worli sea link is a classic piece of engineering but it was planned only till Worli. There are a number of hurdles while making an exit at Worli,” said Josserand.