A day after the Centre approved the viability gap funding (VGF), the nodal authority MMRDA on Wednesday expressed the hope that work on the much-delayed Mumbai Trans-Harbour Link (MTHL) project will begin by the end of next calendar year.
"The central approval for VGF is a positive step in the progress of the project. We expect work on the project to commence by the end of the next year," MMRDA additional commissioner Ashwini Bhide told PTI here today.
The proposal will now go to the empowered committee and then to the Union finance ministry, she said, adding, "once his (FM's) approval is received, the MMRDA would invite request for proposal (RFP) by November 15 and by next April, project could be awarded and the work can start by year-end".
The 22-km project will connect Sewri in the island city to Nhava in Navi Mumbai. The over Rs9,000-crore project will be implemented through public-private partnership on a design, build, finance, operate and transfer (DBFOT) basis.
It is expected that the VGF for the project would be around 20% of the cost of the project which may be over Rs1,900 crore.
"Considering the ground work that we have done in getting clearances for the project by factoring in all the risks involved, we feel the VGF required will be much less than 40% and could be around 20%. Further, we expect the return on equity will be around 17%," Bhide said.
The concession period for the project has been reduced to 35 years instead of 45 years as originally proposed by MMRDA, or 30 years that the ministry was insisting on.
The MMRDA's expert panel had earlier shortlisted five consortia including Cintra-SOMA-Srei, Gammon Infrastructure Projects-OHL Concessions-GS Engineering, GMR Infrastructure -L&T-Samsung C&T Corpn, IRB Infrastructure Developers-Hyundai consortium, and Tata Realty and Infrastructure-Autostrade Indian Infrastructure Development-Vinci Concessions Development consortium, to develop the project.