The World Bank, which does not fund public-private partnership projects, has made an exception by showing its willingness to bankroll the Rs10,000-crore worth Mumbai Trans Harbour Link (MTHL) project, which is aimed at increasing connectivity between Mumbai and the mainland.
A delegation of World Bank officials met metropolitan commissioner Rahul Asthana on Monday, where they are said to have evinced their interest in funding the project. “They are willing to provide loans for the viability gap funding as well as the soft loans that need to be given to the company building the project,” Asthana said.
The MTHL is Mumbai’s most important infrastructure project, being undertaken by the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA).
If the World Bank goes ahead as promised, it would give wings to a project that has failed to take off due to various reasons including the staggering costs involved.
The financial institution has, however, stressed that if it is to fund the project, the MMRDA would have to strictly adhere to its norms. This is not the first time that a foreign institution had shown keenness on funding Mumbai’s infrastructure projects. The Japanese Bank of International Cooperation is already in talks with the MMRDA to fund the Rs18,000-crore underground metro line from Colaba to the international airport.