July 31, 2014
Experts Will Submit Analysis In Few Months: MMRDA Chief
The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority will execute the Rs 11,000 crore project on cash contract basis. MMRDA commissioner U P S Madan said, “The team gave us favourable indications about funding the project. Out of the total cost of approximately Rs 11,000 crore, the agency is likely to provide us a loan of approximately Rs 8,800 crore.“
The Union government has already approved 20% of the project cost as the viability gap funding (VGF).
Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) commissioner U P S Madan said, “ Agency officials will work on several aspects of the project in detail. After their analysis, they will provide us with inputs which can enhance constructability and shorten the project’s construction period. Given their experience in the construction of long sea bridges, we look forward to their suggestions.“
“As the project is to be constructed on an engineering procurement-contract (EPC) basis, we expect large contractor companies (Indian and foreign) to show interest in the project. The Japanese experts will submit their analysis in a few months,“ he said.
MMRDA decided to undertake construction of the 22 km MTHL on cash contract after it failed to receive a bid from a pre-qualified consortia till August 2013, when it tried to execute the project on public-private-partnership (PPP) basis.
The project was proposed in the 1970s. The first serious attempt to build the bridge was made in 2008 but it fell through because of a dispute between the Ambani brothers.
Environmentalists, led by the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS), had sought a change in the alignment of the link–it wanted the starting point of the MTHL to start 700 metres south of its current position in Sewri. BNHS argued that this realignment was crucial to save the Sewri mudflats and flamingos.
According to BNHS, there are around 150 bird species in the area. BirdLife International and BNHS have designated the area as an important bird area and “a potential Ramsar site“.