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Uncertainty over funds could lead to water transport project being scrapped

Saturday, 16 August 2014 - 6:20am IST | Agency: dna

Mumbaikars may not get the inland water transport project that was planned to ferry passengers from South Mumbai to Borivli and to Navi Mumbai. The extension of the sea link from Worli to Haji Ali is also unlikely to happen.

This was indicated on Friday by chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, who took journalists on a tour of infrastructure projects completed in the past two years.

"The passenger water transport on either coast of Mumbai has issues of funding. The MSRDC has not achieved financial closure, thereby raising concerns whether funds would be available for the projects. If the financial resources are not shown the chief minister will not clear the project," Chavan said.

Asked whether the long-pending matter of the contract for the Worli-Haji Ali sea link would be scrapped altogether, the chief minister said: "That contract is as good as closed."

The chief minister also made it clear that the proposed augmentation of Mumbai-Pune Expressway and widening of Nagpur-Aurangabad-Sinnar-Ghoti-Mumbai highway from two lanes to four lanes were ill-conceived and not likely to go ahead any time soon.

Chavan explained that the expressway plan and some "other projects" would not be cleared soon as there were toll payment issues. If the project is cleared, revenue would have to be recovered by levying toll on motorists.

"Already people in Kolhapur and Kamothe-Panvel are angry about the toll policy. On top of this the projects are tied up to toll revenue," Chavan said. He mentioned that the chief secretary was examining a possible solution on the Kamothe toll plaza.

All these projects are pending for over a year and a half.

The sea link extension project, estimated to cost Rs4,550 crore, was to be executed by a consortium of Reliance Infrastructure and Hyundai. The expressway augmentation was expected to cost Rs3,665 crore.

The water transport project requires Rs440 crore for the service on the eastern coast and Rs915 crore on the western coast.

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