By Accommodation Times News Service
In the run-up to the Mumbai civic elections, the chief minister-led Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) has sanctioned its highest-ever budget in the past seven years, with a lion’s share marked for transport-infrastructure projects in the civic body’s jurisdiction.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Monday approved a budget of Rs 6,647crore for the MMRDA for the 2016-17 fiscal. The outlay is almost 74 per cent more than the Rs 3,830crore that the authority had set aside for development works last year.
Over the last few years, the MMRDA, which does not get any annual budgetary allocation from the state government, had been giving more prominence to development projects in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region.
However, for 2016-17, the share of outlay for infrastructure projects within Mumbai is the largest in the development authority’s budget, with at least 60 per cent funds dedicated to various works within the city. “It is not that the amount allocated for works outside Mumbai in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region has reduced. It is still the same. It’s just that some of the major projects that we had taken up are expected to take shape this year and these happen to be in Mumbai. As a result, Mumbai’s share in the budget looks significantly larger,” said U P S Madan, MMRDA Commissioner.
Of the total outlay for Mumbai, the MMRDA has set aside Rs 2,151.75 crore for three new Metro lines — Rs 500 crore each for the elevated Andheri East-Dahisar East Metro and the Dahisar-DN Nagar Metro, and Rs 1,000 crore for the underground Colaba-Bandra-Seepz Metro. The authority has also allocated Rs 1,000 crore for the state government’s much-delayed showpiece Mumbai Trans Harbour Link from Sewri to Nhava Sheva.
The government has announced very ambitious deadlines for the completion of these four projects, aiming to start work on all these this year. For the 22-km trans-harbour link — planned as a connector between the island city and the Navi Mumbai International Airport — the chief minister has declared his government would ensure that the work order was issued by October or November and the project, which had been in the works for over three decades, be completed in 4.5 years.
The CM has also committed to completing the construction of the 18.5-km Dahisar-DN Nagar Metro and the 16.5-km Dahisar East-Andheri-East Metro by June 2019. For the fully underground Colaba-Bandra-Seepz Metro, which is currently battling environment-related hurdles with regards to its car depot, the government has set a deadline of 2019 to complete the first phase from Colaba to Bandra Kurla Complex, and 2020 to finish the entire project. Madan said, “Tendering is underway for the three Metro lines and is soon to begin for the trans-harbour link.” Besides the three Metro lines and the harbour link, the MMRDA has also set aside Rs 341.50 crore to complete the second phase of the Chembur-Wadala-Jacob Circle monorail, and Rs 125 crore for a grand Dr B R Ambedkar Memorial at the seafront Indu Mills in Dadar. Another Rs 171 crore has been allocated to spruce up the Bandra Kurla Complex, the MMRDA’s headquarters and the city’s ace business district, which has been positioned as the next international finance centre.
The MMRDA has also allocated Rs 50 crore for extending the Santacruz Chemur Link Road to the Vakola Bridge, and building a new elevated road from Bandra Kurla Complex to the Western Express Highway. Rs 50 crore has been set aside for two flyovers and an elevated road to decongest the Chedda Nagar junction near Chembur. The 2016-17 outlay will be MMRDA’s largest budget since 2009-10, when it had approved an allocation of Rs 6,653 crore. Since then, the development authority had been downsizing its budget, with close to 40 per cent remaining unused every year