Cash crunch forces BMC to rethink parking lot project
It was a financial crunch that forced the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC’s) Standing Committee to reconsider funding the underground parking lot project in South Mumbai. The committee controls the civic coffers.
Seven parking lots were to be built at a cost of Rs 440 crore between Regal cinema and Crawford Market. Each lot would have a capacity of 1,400 vehicles.
The BMC was to fund it entirely and then hand it over to the Venue Infrastructure consortium to run for 30 years. However, it was unclear how much Venue would pay the BMC every year.
Also, Girish Vyas, the son-in-law of senior Shiv Sena leader Manohar Joshi, is managing director of WOHR Parking System Pvt Ltd (India), which is part of Venue.
The Hindustan Times had in August 2009 reported the attempts of the Sena-led standing committee to hand over the project to Venue.
The committee cleared the proposal on August 24, 2009. An allocation of Rs 173 crore was made for it in the 2010-2011 budget, but the money was never spent as the work had not started.
In the budget for 2011-12, Rs 100 crore was allocated for the project, but the standing committee has now revised it to Rs 25 crore. This was the first parking project being implemented under the build-operate-transfer basis.
While the standing committee is looking for ways to reduce the cost, the bureaucracy wants to scrap the funding plan altogether. “The cost per parking space is Rs 36 lakh; it’s not viable,” said a senior official requesting anonymity as he is not authorised to speak to the media.
Municipal Commissioner Subodh Kumar was unavailable for comment.