Chavan writes to PM to speed up Colaba-SEEPZ Metro project

Looking to fast-track the execution of the costly Colaba-Bandra-Seepz Metro, Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan recently wrote to the Prime Minister, requesting him to expedite clearances for the project.

Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), which is the implementing authority for the project, has been waiting for a clearance from the central government's public investment board for the financial model of the Metro for more than six months now.

"The CM has requested a meeting of the board soon to discuss the project," said Rahul Asthana, metropolitan commissioner at the MMRDA.

MMRDA had attended a preliminary meeting of the board about six months ago and later furnished additional details that the officials had asked for. Since then, meetings with the public investment board had been fixed on two occasions, but were called off both the times, a senior MMRDA official said.

Recently, Chavan also wrote to the PM about the Sewri-Nhava Sheva Mumbai Trans Harbour Link to check any further delays in the showpiece project.

For the Colaba-Bandra-Seepz Metro, a clearance from the public investment board is important to secure central government funds as well as to finalise the loan agreement with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

MMRDA had last year concluded preliminary talks with JICA, which also granted its nod to the environment impact assessment and social impact assessment reports for the project.

At Rs 24,500 crore, the 33.5-km Colaba-Bandra-Seepz Metro will be one of the most expensive infrastructure projects in Mumbai. This corridor is more expensive than the under-construction Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar Metro or the proposed Charkop-Bandra-Mankhurd Metro corridor as it is completely underground while the other two are elevated. The Colaba-Bandra-Seepz Metro will have 27 stations.

As per the model decided for the financing of the Metro, the central and state governments are to contribute 15 per cent each. JICA will provide a loan to cover 50 per cent of the project cost at an interest of 1.4 per cent payable over 30 years.

Besides, Mumbai International Airport Ltd (MIAL) has agreed to spend Rs 777 crore and construct three stations closest to the airport on the Metro route. The rest would be funded through subordinate debt.

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