The city’s dreams of using waterways to travel around may take some more time to realise. In another case of a flip-flop over vital infrastructure projects in the city, the state government is likely to scrap the bid it received from a private company to build the cities first waterway transport system.
The state empowered committee headed by the chief secretary has recommended to the state government that the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) should build the project on its own with the help of funds from the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA).
“The MSRDC has been asked to look into providing necessary infrastructure for water transport on its own. The funds for the project can be provided by the MMRDA,” a senior state government official said, on condition of anonymity. The committee also recommended that once the system is set in place, a private operator can be entrusted to run the project.
The MSRDC in June 2010 had received a single bid by Pratibha Industries to build a water transport system on the western coast.
The financial bid for the project was opened in August 2011 in which Pratibha Industries claimed it would recover the cost of the Rs 1,200-crore project in a period of 29 years and then hand over the project to the government.
The MSRDC’s board on September 9, 2010 cleared the proposal and sent it to the state government for further scrutiny. The government has however still not taken a decision on awarding the project to the concessionaire.
Opposition members raised questions about the acceptance of a single bid by the government and the capability of the concessionaire over implementing the project.
Also, there were issues between the concessionaire and MSRDC over various works including infrastructure development near the jetties and terminals of the project. The government had been deliberating for over seven months on whether it wants to hand over the project to the concessionaire or not.