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MMRDA resolves port land acquisition issue to construct MTHL

MMRDA to pay Mumbai Port Trust Rs1,000-crore rent through instalments for next 30 years

mumbai Updated: Oct 11, 2016 00:10 IST
Saurabh Katkurwar
Saurabh Katkurwar
Hindustan Times
MMRDA ,The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority,Mumbai Port Trust
Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis has sought completion of the project by 2019, perhaps, before the assembly elections. (HT file photo)

The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) has succeeded in resolving the complex land acquisition issue for Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT) land to be used to construct the long-pending Mumbai Trans Harbour Link (MTHL). The project is set to take off in a few months’ time.

The MMRDA and MbPT have reached a consensus over the rent to be paid by the former for using the port trust’s land to construct ramps for MTHL on the Mumbai side.

Sanjay Khandare, the additional commissioner of MMRDA said that the total rent of Rs1,000 crore would be paid in instalments for the next 30 years.

Earlier, the MbPT had sought around Rs1,200 crore as lease rental charges for 9.9 hectares of MbPT land on a permanent basis and 15.83 hectares of land on a temporary basis for seven years.

Now, after two year-long deliberations, MMRDA agreed to pay the Rs1,000-crore rent in instalments.

“We are going to pay Rs135 crore in the first instalment and remaining amount will be paid in 30 annual instalments,” Khandare said.

About five years ago, the MbPT had charged rental for the airspace that was to be used by MTHL. The port trust had defended its action saying that the rent was fixed in accordance with the prescribed rules and was approved by its board of directors.

With no breakthrough in sight, the state government started to negotiate with the ministry of shipping, under which the port trust operates.

The state government informed the ministry that significant portion of the land to be acquired by MMRDA comes under No Development Zone (NDZ) and MMRDA would spend its fund to rehabilitate slum-dwellers on the port trust land.

The pleading had had positive impact. MbPT came up with new lease rental, which comes approximately Rs700 crore. In addition, it offered two options, either one time upfront payment or annual charges for 30 years.

The 22-km MTHL will connect Sewri in Mumbai to Chirle in Navi Mumbai, which will not just ease traffic snarls on the roads passing through Navi Mumbai but boost connectivity with Pune and Goa as well.

The sea link project failed to take off on several occasions in the last two decades. With the recent developments, the project is supposed to be ready by 2019, before Navi Mumbai International Airport is made operational. The MTHL is supposed to be a crucial link between Mumbai and the airport.

The expenditure for the project is pegged at Rs17,500 crore. When tenders for the project were floated for the first time in 2005, the project cost was just Rs4,000 crore. The over 400% hike in the project cost in the last decade is the result of several failed attempts at executing it due to poor planning.

First Published: Oct 11, 2016 00:07 IST