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Cost up from Rs495cr to Rs1,300cr, but Uran local yet to chug in

Latest audit reports of the govt reveal that not only has the cost escalated from Rs495.44 crore to a whopping Rs1,300 crore, but the project is also nowhere near completion.

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Cost up from Rs495cr to Rs1,300cr, but Uran local yet to chug in
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    It’s been 12 years since work began on connecting the city’s suburban line to Uran in Raigad district. But, the latest audit reports of the government reveal that not only has the cost escalated from Rs495.44 crore to a whopping Rs1,300 crore, but the project is also nowhere near completion.

    Blasting the Central Railway for lack of co-ordination with the City and Industrial development Corporation (Cidco), which also has a stake in the project, the reports state that Mumbai’s commuters have been deprived of suburban train connectivity because of this delay.

    “(A) scrutiny of records (of February 2009) revealed that the work of the project commenced in 1997-98 and despite incurring a total expenditure of Rs133.39 crore (Rs 56.92 crore by the railway and Rs76.46 crore by Cidco), the physical progress of the work was only 12% till the end of March 2010,” states a report of the comptroller and auditor general.

    While work on one major bridge, five road under-bridges (RUBs) and one road over-bridge (ROB) is in progress, the same on two major and 40 minor bridges, six RUBs and two ROBs have not been taken up at all. Besides, the Cidco is yet to acquire land required for a 2.71km section and hand it over to the railway.

    The slow pace of the project has been blamed on Cidco’s financial constraints, which requested the railway to go slow in August 2001. Moreover, construction activities were suspended from October 2005 to July 2008 after the Bombay high court issued a stay order on taking up any work within 50m of mangrove areas.

    The railway has neither signed a project specific agreement with Cidco laying down an investment schedule linked with work progress nor has it made any safeguard provision in case of failure to perform. This has not only resulted in blockage of huge funds of Rs56.92 crore issued by the railway, but has also indefinitely pushed back the date of completion. The railway has spent Rs56.92 crore against its share of Rs44.02 crore, whereas Cidco has shelled out only Rs76.46 crore of its share of Rs89.37 crore.

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