The double-decker flyover on the Santacruz-Chembur Link Road (SCLR),one of the key road components of the showcase Mumbai Urban Transport Project,will miss its revised deadline of December 2009. Members of a World Bank team told Newsline after a review mission that the SCLR is running behind schedule. The new deadline is December 2010.
The primary reason for the delay,according to Hubert Nove-Josserand,team task leader of the World Bank for MUTP,is the rehabilitation and resettlement of those affected by the project on the 6.45-km stretch. The progress on SCLR is still very slow and will not be over by its December 09 deadline. The work is slower than expected,mostly due to the issue of rehabilitation and resettlement (R & R), Josserand said.
Meanwhile,the Jogeshwari-Vikhroli Link Road is progressing as per schedule and is expected to be completed by December,Josserand said.
According to him,the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority the nodal agency for MUTP has to push the R&R issue to expedite the project. They (MMRDA) have recognised the need to put more effort,add more capacity for R&R and better project management. We now expect a physical progress in six months from today, Josserand said.
The six-lane SCLR is running behind its original schedule by nearly four years and is merely 35 per cent complete. The delay in implementing the project has seen a huge cost escalation in the project,aimed at giving better east-west connectivity.
According to data with the MMRDA,the SCLR will now cost Rs 242.39 crore,an increase of Rs 115.39 crore from its earlier estimates.
The authority is now set to sign a memorandum of understanding with 260 PAPs of 13 individual societies at Tilak Nagar. However,another worry for the MMRDA,the R&R of four societies at Netaji Nagar,still remains to be resolved.
While MMRDA officials were unavailable for comment,the World Bank officials were satisfied with the progress in the rail component of the project.
According to Josserand,the impact of the rail component,which was to decongest the trains,has been achieved with 26 new rakes introduced in six months. The rail component is progressing well. The impact in terms of decongestion is happening. It is close to the level of decongestion that we had planned for when we started out on the project, he said.
Work on laying additional lines between Kurla and Thane and the fifth line between Mahim and Santacruz will not be completed by December.
The Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation,the coordinating agency for the MUTP rail component,has asked the World Bank to expedite the loan procedures for MUTP Phase II-A.
The Phase II-A will basically focus on additional rakes on existing lines for more decongestion, Josserand said.