Will transport project meet deadline to get World Bank funds? | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Will transport project meet deadline to get World Bank funds?

Time is running out for the state government and Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority. The deadline for the World Bank to disburse the balance amount of funds under the phase-I of Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP) is December 31, 2009.

mumbai Updated: Nov 09, 2009 01:09 IST
Shashank Rao

Time is running out for the state government and Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA).

The deadline for the World Bank to disburse the balance amount of funds under the phase-I of Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP) is December 31, 2009.

MUTP’s phase I mainly comprises road and rail components. The road component includes road widening to facilitate the Santacruz-Chembur Link Road and Jogeshwari-Vikhroli Link Road among others.

Of the Rs 4,256 crore for MUTP phase-I, the World Bank is giving financial assistance of Rs 2,602 crore.

“Till date, a total of nearly 60 per cent has been disbursed,” said an MMRDA official.

The World Bank provides funds only after reviewing completion of the project at every level. Funds are approved after the implementing agency completes stipulated work within a timeframe and produces bills.

As this process was pending, the balance funds were blocked.

This means that Rs 1,041 crore is still to be received. Technically, it could lapse if the deadline is not extended.

The loan amount is significant given that the global financial slowdown has prevented the private sector from opening its purse strings.

The MMRDA and state government have sought approval to the Government of India to extend the December 2009 deadline by a year for the road component.

“We have sent a request in April 2009 for extending the deadline,” said the MMRDA official. The World Bank that had entered into an agreement with the Government of India for funding MUTP phase-I in June 2002 has not, however, received any intimation yet to extend the deadline.

“We have not received any request for an extension of MUTP phase-I deadline. Once we receive it only then can we examine it,” said World Bank team leader, Huber Josserand.

“The request for extension is in process,” said Dilip Kawatkhar, Project Director (MUTP), MMRDA.

“It becomes difficult to approve of deadline extensions after the initial date of deadline,” said a senior World Bank official. A state government official, who is not authorised to speak to the media, however said that there would be no problem in getting an extension, as only the formal paperwork was pending.

Meanwhile, the World Bank has received a request to extend the deadline for rail component under MUTP phase-I from the Rail Board.

It means Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation can procure 174 trains under this phase.