Ending ambiguity over who will execute the multi-crore coastal road project, the state government has confirmed that the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) will undertake the ambitious venture. MMRDA was the other contender.
First, what exactly is this fungible FSI?Fungible means that which is inter-changeable. Imagine, you are buying a flat. Developers will charge you for ornamental features like lobby, lift space, flower beds, balconies etc. However, the developers were not sharing this money with the government. They were called free-of-FSI component. Now, the government has made it fungible FSI, thus charging a premium from developers for the ornamental space. The money so collected from fungible FSI will be exclusively used for coastal road construction.
Now, what's the coastal road project?
It's a 35.6-km road from Nariman Point to Kandivli, which runs parallel to the coast. The road will start from Manora Guest House, opposite Mantralaya, and progress through a tunnel between the NCPA and the Air India building. Nearly 8 km will be on reclaimed land. It will also have elevated roads. There will be 18 exit and entry points.
How will it help me?
The minimum average speed on city roads has come down from 18 km per hour to 8 km per hour due to rise in vehicles and congestion on roads. As far as the coastal road is concerned, motorists can drive at 90 km per hour.
What's the project cost?
Given the route along the coastline, the BMC has two options: to reclaim land from sea or to build road through mangrove patches. The first option will cost Rs8,000 crore, and the second Rs7,000 crore.
Where will the money come from?
The BMC has so far collected Rs3,500 crore as premium recovered as fungible FSI. "We have set a target of Rs2,000 crore in a fiscal. To meet that target, developers will have to undertake a specified number of projects in a year," a civic official said.
But why did the Cong-led govt choose the Sena-BJP ruled BMC?
Though this is a pet project of chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, he's willing to cede ground here. The logic is that since the Sena-BMC combine is ruling the Centre as well, clearances will be smooth. Recently, Chavan had met Union environment minister Prakash Javadekar to discuss environmental clearances. The latter appeared positive on putting the project on fast-track.
Does the BMC enjoy any edge over other agencies?
It's a multi-crore project, requiring huge monetary investment. So, the government thinks the BMC has the resources that no other agency has.
When was the project conceived?
The wheels started rolling when the Chavan cabinet issued a government resolution on June 30, 2011, forming an 11-member joint committee, under the chairmanship of then civic chief Subodh Kumar. The panel consisting of architects, urban planners and experts in oceanography submitted the report to the government on December 29, 2011.
What's the status now?
Feasibility study is on now. In February this year, the BMC appointed a consultant (a consortium of Stup and Ernst and Young consultants) to carry out a feasibility study with the roads department. The consultant will suggest the best way to carry out the project and also a cost-effective model. The duration for completing the project will be decided when the detailed project report (DPR) is ready, officials said.