Following claims of cost escalation in the city’s first Metro project, and subsequent demand for a fare hike by the consortium in charge of the project, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) has asked for an itemised break-up of the escalated cost with justification and the agency responsible for it.
UPS Madan, metropolitan commissioner at MMRDA, said the authority would consider the submission, but the acceptance of any increase in the capital cost would not have a bearing on the Metro fare structure.
“We will look at their justification and if MMRDA is responsible for the delay and rise in cost rise for a certain reason, then we will decide how to deal with it, whether to reimburse the amount or not,” Madan said.
“So far, they have given an overall reason for cost escalation; an item-wise justification is yet to come. They have assured us that they will provide all the details,” he added.
The Reliance Infrastructure-led Mumbai Metro One Pvt Ltd (MMOPL) is constructing the 11.4-km Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar Metro on a public-private-partnership basis. The consortium has been claiming that there is a cost escalation of Rs 1,935 crore over and above the original cost of Rs 2,356 crore. The consortium has asked for a 130 to 150 per cent hike in the Metro fare structure, which the state government has decided to be between Rs 9 and Rs 13.
“As per the concession agreement, the consortium can only ask for a fare hike if there is a considerable increase in the operations and maintenance cost,” Madan said.
A spokesperson of the MMOPL said, “The Metro project was delayed due to the inability of the MMRDA or the state government in providing 100 percent unencumbered right of way and the committed access to the Metro corridor by September 2007. As on date, 100 per cent unencumbered right of way is yet to be provided to MMOPL.”