MMRDA seeks govt opinion

The Reliance Infrastructure-led consortium in October had written a strongly-worded letter running into 17 pages that it will not budge until the state govt completes its contractual obligations

Unable to take a decision on what action to take regarding the non-starter Charkop-Bandra-Mankhurd elevated Metro and the contract signed with a Reliance Infrastructure-led consortium for the project, the city's development authority has after months of dithering put the ball in the state government's court.

The MMRDA has also asked the state government to decide about any action that needs to be taken regarding the contract with Mumbai Metro Transport Private Limited (MMTPL), which was appointed to execute the project.

"We had written to the state government about 10-15 days ago asking them to take a decision. Based on their response we will act," a senior MMRDA official said.

The MMRDA has also sought legal opinion to explore possible actions it can take against the concessionaire for not sticking to the project schedule.

The state government had signed a concession agreement to build the Metro on a public private partnership model with MMTPL, comprising of Reliance Infrastructure and Canada's SNC Lavalin, in January 2010.

The consortium achieved financial closure in March 2011, but the actual construction is yet to take off due to various issues such as problems in land acquisition and lack of a car depot.

The original cost of the project was Rs 8,250 crore as per 2008 prices. Reliance Infrastructure, the lead partner in the consortium, declined comment.

A source associated with the project said the concessionaire has spent nearly Rs 100 crore on the project for consolidation of manpower, setting up basic infrastructure and conducting investigation reports for the Metro.

In September this year, the Mumbai Metro Rail Corp had written to the concessionaire giving an ultimatum to start work on the 32-km corridor with the available clearances at the hindrance-free stretches by October 1 or face action as per the provisions of the concession agreement.

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