Charkop-Bandra-Mankhurd Metro corridor: 3 years on, development agency gives ultimatum to start construction

Three years after former President Pratibha Patil performed the bhoomipujan for the Charkop-Bandra-Mankhurd Metro corridor, the city's development agency has decided to give the concessionaire an ultimatum to start the construction of the much-delayed corridor with the available clearances.

The state government had signed a concession agreement in January 2010 for the 32-km Charkop-Bandra-Mankhurd Metro with a special purpose vehicle comprising Reliance Infrastructure, Canada's SNC Lavalin and Reliance Communication Ltd.

The concessionaire had achieved financial closure in March 2011, but the construction is yet to start due to issues such as delay in environmental clearance and lack of land for a casting yard.

"We will be talking to Reliance Infrastructure with regards to what is the company's time-frame for the execution of the Metro corridor. We are ready with the clearances. But if Reliance Infrastructure is not in a position to start the project, then we will have to do something about it," said Rahul Asthana, metropolitan commissioner, MMRDA.

The MMRDA is not terminating the contract, but is putting the ball in the concessionaire's court, he added.

The environmental clearances for the car sheds at Charkop and Mankhurd hinge on riders according to which the car depots should be built on stilts, and there should be no maintenance activities such as washing of rakes in the area under Central Regulatory Zone.

"Providing a casting yard is not MMRDA's responsibility. The state agency can help, but it is under the concessionaire's purview to look for land for a casting yard," Asthana said.

Reliance Infrastructure, the lead partner in the consortium with 48 per cent of the equity share capital, declined to comment.

There are many issues other than the lack of land for a casting yard and an unconditional clearance for the car depots.

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