Mumbai Metro work to begin from next week: MMRDA

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Mumbai, Jan 29 (UNI) Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (MMRDA) Commissioner Ratnakar Gaikwad today said the Mumbai Metro Project Limited (MMPL) board has awarded the contract of civil works to Simplex company and the work would commence in full swing within a week's time.

Talking to reporters here, Mr Gaikwad said there were only two bidders - Simplex and Afcon for the Rs 450 crore worth civil works excluding the bridges on the first corridor of the ambitious project aimed to ease the burgeoning traffic congestion in the megapolis.

Barricading and piling work will begin immediately and the locations are being finalised by the MMPL. Impediments like acquisition of Home Guard land in Versova, Marol fire station, Wadala truck terminal areas, have been removed and all the issues have been sorted out, Mr Gaikwad added.

Replying to a question on whether the delay of one year would affect costs and the time period of completing the first phase, Mr Gaikwad said that the MMPL was confident of completing the first corridor phase by December 2010. Civil works would take about 18 months to be completed, he said.

To a query on whether the Viability Gap Funding (VGF) has been rejected by the Centre, Mr Gaikwad said that the VGF guidelines have not been finalised as yet by the Union Urban Development ministry. ''We have not received any decision from the Centre that it has rejected the VGF for Mumbai Metro project, '' he added.

The MMRDA commissioner also informed that offers from seven companies including the L&T have been received for the Monorail project in the MMR region. ''We are in the process of scrutinizing the offers. The financial bids will be floated by the end of next month. The first Monorail in India will run by December 2009 in the Wadala-Keshavrao Khade Marg, Chembur-Mahul and Thane-Bhiwandi-Kalyan sectors in the eastern suburbs of Mumbai and its outskirts,'' Mr Gaikwad added.

Responding to another question, Mr Gaikwad said that the technical evaluation of the second corridor of the Metro -- Rs 6000 crore Charkop-Bandra-Mankhurd project is in progress. The actual work is expected to begin in June 2008. ''we are awaiting the Model concession agreement from the Centre. There is no issue of land acquisition because the charkop land is in government's possession,'' he added.

He also informed that the government is planning to adopt the DMRC model (Delhi Metro) for phase three of Mumbai Metro project.

The third corridor of Mumbai Metro from Colaba to Bandra is worth Rs 12000 crore with the VGF being Rs 8800 crore. ''VGF of such huge amount is not suited for public private partnership,'' he informed.

''DMRC's E Shreedharan has been invited by the Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh for talks. Any way, Mr Shreedharan is our consultant,'' he said adding that the government is also examining the possibility of adopting the DMRC model for phase two.

Mr Gaikwad said the MMRDA has decided to construct Skywalk cum elevated hawking plazas in the city. Each tenement will be 100 sq ft with lock and key. About 50 railway stations will have one km long hawking plazas. It will be 30 feet long.

The decision was arrived at when re-settled hawkers at Kanjur Marg station complained of loss of business. Hence, use of air space has become evident, he stated.

Mr Gaikwad also said that the MMRDA has already earmarked Rs 600 crore budget for constructing skywalks in the city and that Kanjur Marg has been identified for the pilot project of skywalk cum hawking plaza.

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