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MMRDA under scanner

CM Prithviraj Chavan's nod awaited for paper prepared in the aftermath of the metro bridge collapse in September. Dharmendra Jore reports.

mumbai Updated: Dec 02, 2012 00:32 IST
Dharmendra Jore

After the water resources department, led by the Nationalist Congress Party, came out with a white paper on irrigation projects in the state, chief minister Prithviraj Chavan is under pressure to bring out one on the infrastructure projects undertaken by the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA).

Home minister and senior NCP leader RR Patil had demanded that the chief minister publish information on MMRDA after a metro rail bridge slab collapsed on the Andheri-Kurla road in September this year.

Mishaps have occurred regularly at several of MMRDA's other construction sites, in which at least five people have died so far.

At the time, Chavan had readily agreed to publish the white paper on MMRDA within a month.

MMRDA generates funds by selling land at Bandra-Kurla Complex and Wadala. It has undertaken various projects such as the metro (private-public), monorail, skywalks, roads and bridges.

It will also construct an ambitious trans-harbour link which has seen a cost escalation of Rs2,000 cr ina period of just 2 years.

Experts and citizens have questioned the bad planning and the unwarranted expenditure on skywalks and the cycling track in Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC).

Patil's demand was being seen by many as a strategy to corner the chief minister who had earlier demanded a white paper on irrigation projects in the state.

The NCP minister then felt that like the irrigation projects, the costs of MMRDA projects, too, had escalated. Furthermore, it felt that the authority headed by Chavan lacked measures to control costs and quality of work and failed miserably in expediting the projects.

A senior MMRDA official told HT on Saturday that the white paper was ready. "We are waiting for Chavan's instructions to publish it," he said, requesting anonymity.

Like the irrigation white paper, the MMRDA document too would be a status paper for projects and its finances.