Flooding gives impetus to new projects
The 26/7 deluge has virtually exposed Mumbai's miserable state of infrastructure. According to FICCI, the city lost Rs 450 crore business income due to the downpour. If the transport system was working the loss could have been much less. The disaster has raised an alarm about the city's need to improve its transport and drainage system.
The Maharashtra government has recommended the railway authorities to start phase II Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP) as soon as possible, and take up the pending work of the first phase in the second one. But since this wouldn't be enough; an alternate Mass Rapid Transit System is required. Shailendra Kumar, spokesperson for Western Railway, says, "We must have a metro rail. It's one of the alternatives to provide relief to commuters." The Rs 1,500 crore Metro rail project is now in tendering stage.
The most awaited water transport systems will soon be implemented. According to Sanjay Ubale, secretary (Special Projects), Government of Maharashtra, Satyagiri Shipping, which is implementing the water transport system in the western side of Mumbai, has achieved financial closure last month. This water transport will cover areas between Broivli and Nariman Point. A similar type of project has been planned from Sassoon Dock to Uran for which tenders will soon be floated.
"The trans-harbour link project looks more urgent now than ever before. This project has come to a stage for tenders to be issued within a month. It was kept hanging for 21 years, but now has got all clearances and is at take-off stage," explains Ubale. The EoI received good response from international players like Mitsubashi, China Infrastructure, Hyundai and others.
The truck terminus which was planned in 1985 will now be impelemented in Wadala so that trucks coming to areas like Byculla, Masjid can be stationed at the terminus. The state government is working with the World Bank which has asked to create an integrated plan for the city. The bank has also asked to lay the entire infrastructure for the region, create business centres so that the city doesn't depend upon just two business centres --Bandra-Kurla complex and South Mumbai. The new business centres are proposed at Vikroli, Navi Mumbai and other locations.
Once implemented, the project will cover almost 80 per cent of the city and suburbs with a drainage system. The chief minister has asked BMC to start the process of implementation by floating tenders. Better late than never!
[8 August 2005]