Prepaid card to save motorists from being fleeced at toll plazas

April 17, 2013

MUMBAI: India’s first national highway electronic toll collection (ETC) system was launched in Thane Friday. With this India joined the ranks of the US, Western Europe, Singapore and Australia that have implemented this sophisticated form of technology. The new system will curb overcharging by unscrupulous toll plaza attendants apart from helping motorists avoid long queues or fumble for change. It was recommended by an expert committee headed byNandan Nilekani to ease traffic flow and introduce transparency in toll collection.

Union minister for road transport and highways, Dr C P Joshi, launched the first inter-operable, electronic toll collection system based on radio frequency identification (RFID) technology at the toll plazas of Mumbai-Vadodara section. The launch function was held at village Tawa near Dahanu in Thane district. The RFID tag is a prepaid tag which is affixed in the upper portion of the vehicle’s windscreen. It works as a prepaid toll account and facilitates automatic toll deduction when the vehicle crosses a toll plaza. The unique number of the tag is scanned by the ‘readers’ that are fitted in the dedicated ETC lanes of the toll plazas.

This reading is sent to the central clearing house and the motorist receives an instant text message alert and an email update. The clearing house pools the money and later distributes among toll plaza management as per vehicle usage. This new facility is available at the toll plazas of Charoti, Bhagwada, Boriach, Choriyasi, Narmada Bridge, Karjan and Vadodara. It will be extended to the Vadodara-Ahmedabad section of the national highway and Mumbai-Pune as well. RFID tags can be purchased at designated kiosks located near toll plazas. They can also be bought online and recharged similarly.


Work begins on ROB on Santa Cruz-Chembur Link Road

April 9, 2013


Work begins on ROB on Santa Cruz-Chembur Link Road

April 08, 2013
The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) on April 6 began work on the crucial and last phase of the 4-km elevated Santa Cruz-Chembur Link Road by launching two 40.5-metre girders to build a 109.8-metre rail overbridge (ROB) in Kurla.

The girders will form the foundation of the rail overbridge, which will connect Kurla east and west. The Santa Cruz-Chembur Link Road between the western and eastern express highways is basically a missing link and launching of the girders gives us confidence of completing the project by December, said UPS Madan, metropolitan commissioner.

Fifteen girders will have to be laid by MMRDA followed by asphalt work, lighting and other works. The double-decker Santa Cruz-Chembur Link Road flyover will provide one more east-west connectivity with one arm reaching Lokamanya Tilak Nagar Terminus for commuters travelling towards north as well as south, another to Nehru Nagar in Kurla (E) and the third to LB S Marg in Kurla (W).


‘Smoother air traffic flow in sight’

April 8, 2013

‘Smoother air traffic flow in sight’

Soubhik Mitra, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, April 06, 2013
First Published: 01:17 IST(6/4/2013) | Last Updated: 01:18 IST(6/4/2013)


With work on the proposed Navi Mumbai International Airport, which was expected to ease Mumbai air traffic congestion, moving at a snail’s pace, the focus is now on expansions plans at the Juhu aerodrome.

Diverting smaller planes to the Juhu airport will not only offer a breather to the space constraints at Mumbai airport, but also enable it to achieve high standards of runway efficiency.

The city airport is trying to achieve 48 flight movements (take-offs and landings) an hour by reducing the time taken by aircrafts to vacate the runway. Small aircrafts pose a major challenge in achieving this discipline, owing to reduced landing speed.

 “Small planes such as turboprops disrupt air flow management, as their cruising speed is half that of jumbo jets. Shifting their operations to Juhu can improve the exiting airport’s runway efficiency dramatically,” said a senior air traffic control (ATC) official, requesting anonymity.

While turboprops are common, no-frill carrier Spicejet Airlines recently inducted a fleet of Q400 planes. National carrier Air India may also induct a fleet of small aircrafts manufactured by aircraft maker Bombardier.

Currently, the city airport has reduced its runway occupancy time from 60 seconds to 52 seconds. Its per-hour capacity to handle take-offs and landings went up from 30 until last year to 46. “Better runway occupancy will increase our capacity from 40 million passengers a year to 45 million,” Sanjay Reddy, managing director of the Mumbai airport, had told Hindustan Times at an aviation event last month.

The airport’s plan is based on a feasibility study conducted by NATS, a UK-based service provider, instrumental in turning around the efficiency of several airports in Europe. For instance, London’s Gatwick airport handled 60 take-offs and landings an hour with a single runway (Mumbai has two) after implementing a study by NATS.


Eastern Freeway to be completed today

March 29, 2013

Eastern Freeway to be completed today

Chittaranjan Tembhekar, TNN Mar 9, 2013, 02.02AM IST

MUMBAI: The city’s longest flyover, connecting the 9.29-km stretch from Orange Gate on P D’Mello Road to the Mahul creek salt pan between Anik and Chembur, will be completed on Saturday. It will also be the second largest flyover in the country, the largest being the one that connects Hyderabad airport to that city.

Still, the Eastern Freeway elevated road will be the longest such in an urban area in the country once the final concrete block is lifted and placed on Saturday afternoon. The bridge will have 313 pillars and 3,340 segments.

With the development, massive traffic decongestion on the eastern road corridor of the city will be achieved from May onwards, as the flyover forms part of an upcoming 17-km signal-free freeway. Mumbaikars would be able to enter and exit the road from eight points. While six pairs of ramps would become be operational in May, the remaining two will be opened to traffic in June at the earliest.

A 4.5-km mixed road-tunnel-flyover connectivity willcome about between Anik and Chembur; the freeway will offer Mumbaikars a much-awaited 20-minute road journey from CST to Chembur—the entry point there being at Panjarpol near R K Studios.

Thus, the 17-km freeway is divided in three parts: the 9.29-km elevated road, the 4.3-km road-tunnel-flyover and an elevated 2.5-km flyover from Panjarpol till the Mankhurd-Ghatkopar Link Road (MGLR) via Govandi.

“By May end, we will start the four-lane road up to Shivaji Chowk, Chembur, from CST, but for the last leg (till MGLR), we may need another one or two months,” said a senior MMRDA official. “The second part of the freeway will be eight-laned to take traffic from four lanes of flyovers and four lanes of roads below.






Multiple financing for Mumbai infra projects

September 12, 2011

While agencies look at diverse sources to meet huge fund demand, experts say more innovation needed to attract investment

In order to improve the growing transport needs of India’s financial capital, the authorities are looking at various ways, sources and methods to fund infrastructure projects

The third phase of the Rs 47,000-crore Mumbai metro rail project is now proposed to be a fully underground stretch, from Colaba to Bandra and the airport. The cost has escalated to Rs 18,000 crore. Says Dilip Kawathkar, spokesperson of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA): “Japan International Cooperation Agency is likely to provide 40 per cent of the funds.” He says the World Bank had also shown interest, though no formal proposal or presentation had been made to their officials.

The Rs 10,000-crore Mumbai Trans-Harbour Link (MTHL) project, to connect Sewri in Mumbai and Nhava Sheva in Raigad district, is likely to see some new incentives for prospective bidders. Metropolitan commissioner Rahul Asthana said MMRDA planned to compensate the build-operate-transfer (BOT) operator of the MTHL project in case the toll collection is lower than projected (in case of higher toll collection, the operator would have to share the benefit with MMRDA).

A long-tenure soft loan is proposed for the BOT operator; in addition, to encourage more bids (earlier tenders had to be called off due to lack of enough parties), it is proposed to compensate the second and third-lowest bidders for the costs they incurred in doing so.

Phase-II of the Mumbai Urban Transport Project is underway, to improve suburban railway services. This is being jointly implemented by MMRDA and Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation. The phase has 11 projects worth Rs 5,300 crore, with a World Bank loan for Rs 1,910 crore.

Says Sudip Mozumder, advisor, World Bank: “The Bank remains committed to support the (state) government’s efforts to reduce some of Mumbai’s infrastructure gaps.”

He noted that the funds required for Mumbai’s infrastructure were huge, but Bank funds are limited. “It is critical, therefore, that the Bank funds are deployed in projects that have a transformative role, and can help leverage more funds. The government of India, government of Maharashtra and the Bank are currently exploring such opportunities. Discussions are underway but no decision has been taken,” he said.

Says Arvind Mahajan of consultancy major KPMG: “The basic formula for financing complex infrastructure projects is a mix of government and private funds. Also, several projects are linked with each other. . The Navi Mumbai International Airport project, for example, is closely linked to MTHL. A public-private partnership (PPP) is the best method for funding, (so) the project should be structured in a way that the private sector can participate.”

Says consulting economist Sunil Bhandare, “Long-term financing of projects by the private sector needs a viable corporate debt market. This is not so in India and the major corporates are struggling to manage investment, battling with global uncertainty, inflation and high interest rates. This might dissuade financiers from investing further in such projects. What is needed is finality in scope, content and policy, so that the prospective investors are encouraged to fund the projects.”

Arun Mokashi, a transport specialist, says, “In transport infrastructure projects, unanimity is required among all the institutions. There are several instruments —PPP, BOT, viability gap funding, etc. What is needed is the will to harness this sort of a financial arrangement into the system for infrastructure projects.”


HCC joint venture bags Rs639-crore Andhra irrigation project contract new

July 31, 2008

Mumbai: Hindustan Construction Company (HCC) jointly with SEW Infrastructures Ltd and Megha Engineering & Infrastructures Ltd (MEIL) has bagged a Rs639-crore contract for building a barrage of around 3.5 km on river Pranahita near Tummidi Hetti village in Adilabad district of Andhra Pradesh.

HCC will have a share of Rs326.03 crore in the work being undertaken for the Pranahitha-Chevella Package-3 being undertaken by the Irrigation & Command Area Development (ICAD) department of the government of Andhra Pradesh.

The contract covers detailed investigation, preparation of designs, drawings and construction of a barrage including fixing of gates, head regulator and 500 meter long gravity canals. The project will be completed in 48 months.

The project is a part of the government’s ‘Jalayagnam’ programme, an initiative to provide immediate irrigation benefits to all underdeveloped regions of Andhra Pradesh.

Pranahitha-Chevella lift irrigation scheme will irrigate an ayacut of 12.20 lakh acres and provide drinking water to about 1,000 villages in Adilabad, Karimnagar, Nizamabad, Medak, Nalgonda and Rangareddy districts in Telangana region.

HCC is currently involved in construction of Godavari lift irrigation phase I and Phase II in Andhra Pradesh where Phase I has already been commissioned and phase II is in advanced stages of completion. In addition, HCC is currently executing four major projects in Andhra Pradesh, including the country’s first cavern for strategic storage of crude oil at Visakhapatnam, the Veligonda lift irrigation project, the Rajiv Sagar lift irrigation project and a 30 km highway of NHAI on NH-7 under north-south corridor on BOT basis.

HCC constructed the first bridge over the river Godavari at Shahgar, in Andhra Pradesh way back in the 1930s. Since then it has built several infrastructure projects, including the Godavari Barrage at Rajahmundry, the Papavinasam Dam, the Vizag Monolith & West Wall Protection and the Railway Bridge over Godavari which is the first and only bow-string bridge in India, the company said in a release.

HCC has so far constructed over 45 dams, barrages and 15 powerhouses in the sub continent, contributing to over 30 per cent of the country’s installed hydropower capacity.


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