Reliance Infrastructure of the Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group will invest almost Rs20,000 crore for two lines of the elevated metro (approximately 40 km) and taking the Bandra-Worli Sea Link up to Haji Ali. Also, the company will build a line of the Delhi Metro. DNA spoke to the man at the helm of managing this huge challenge: Lalit Jalan, the chief executive officer of Reliance Infrastructure.
What are the hurdles that you faced while working on the Mumbai Metro?
The Mumbai Metro project is very close to the hearts of everyone in RInfra. We are developing Mumbai Metro I and II. It is challenging and exciting. I must tell you that both these projects are on schedule and I am sure that Mumbaikars will cherish the experience. The landmark project is one of the first steps in restructuring Mumbai.
We faced numerous constraints while working on busy city roads, acquiring land and the elusive 'right of way’. In Metro I, a single window clearance was not available; our engineers had to deal with several people for various approvals. Getting traffic clearance was another challenge.
Since there is heavy traffic on roads during the day, loading and unloading heavy equipment at the site is a big challenge.
Various companies work simultaneously on the project — some may work underground while some on roads. Every company has its own procedures. We have overcome most of the challenges through tailed planning by project management teams and innovative engineering solutions. We have to mention that government agencies, particularly MMRDA, supported us.
Delhi Metro is supposed to start before the Commonwealth Games…
The project outlay for the three metro projects in Mumbai and Delhi is Rs16,000 crore and we have 8,000 people working.
The Delhi Metro project will be operational before the games. This is a showcase product, and I am sure it would please everyone associated with the games. We have got three trains from Spain and trial runs are on. Negotiations for lease rental is underway.
The company has bagged the Worli-Haji Ali sea link work. What about that?
We are committed to complete the project by 2014. With an investment outlay of Rs5,100 crore, this sea link would reduce travel time from 60 minutes to 13 minutes; it bypasses 27 traffic signals between Bandra and Haji Ali. We will start construction work in December. The toll operations for Phase I (Bandra-Worli) will commence from December from RInfra platform.
RInfra is building a huge portfolio of infrastructure projects. Is there any plan to raise new equity?
RInfra has sufficient cash and cash equivalent of Rs 8,100 crore. Existing businesses are generating a stable cash flow and a comfortable level on internal accruals. We do not foresee any equity requirement in the future.
What is the issue with Tata Power; when can consumers expect a solution?
More than 1,000 people participated in the first public hearing held by MERC on June 28. The government has acknowledged that the generation capacity created and paid for by consumers of Mumbai should continue to supply power to them at a regulated rate. RInfra has initiated a process to get 1,500 MW under case 1 bidding and within that we have already tied up 385 MW of power for Mumbaikars.