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Will new BJP govt signal end to Mumbai's transport woes?

mumbai Updated: Nov 07, 2014 20:48 IST
Saurabh Katkurwar

With the new government taking charge, there is good news in store for Mumbaiites whose complaints about everyday commute seem to have been largely ignored.

A number of big-ticket infrastructure projects, which were indefinitely stalled by the previous Congress-NCP regime, may soon get necessary approvals from chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, planning authorities in the city said.

“In his first week in office, Fadnavis has indicated he will focus on speedy implementation of infrastructure projects. We hope he gives his approval to these projects, which will help boost connectivity and ease up traffic in the city,” said a senior bureaucrat, on condition of anonymity. These include the inland water transport project, the Worli- Haji Ali Sea Link (WHSL), Metro Two and the Wadala- Kasarvadavali Metro.

So far, only the first phase of the Metro project for Mumbai has been completed, while the original plan was to create nine phases by 2015. Similarly, only one of five sea links planned has been constructed so far.

Although the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) is ready with a plan for the Wadala- Kasarvadavali Metro and wants to seek funds from either World Bank or Japanese Bank, it needs the final go-ahead from the government.

In the case of the Metro Two project (Charkop-Bandra-Mankhurd), the MMRDA had decided to terminate the contract with the developer in 2013 because of differences. But the state is yet to terminate the contract. The project has been delayed by more than five years.

“We will make sure these proposals are approved by the government as soon as possible. In addition, we will ask them to expedite the process of getting a loan for the Mumbai Trans-Harbour Link project,” said UPS Madan, commissioner, MMRDA. The planning agency is also waiting for approvals for two flyovers at the Kalanagar junction.

Further, the WHSL, the Mumbai-Pune expressway augmentation project and the water transport project —undertaken by the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation Ltd. (MSRDC) — also remain on paper because of differences between the Congress and NCP.

“We hope all these projects will be approved now. The delay has led to a huge escalation in costs,” said a top MSRDC official.