Even two years after the Bandra-Worli Sea Link was thrown open to the public fully,the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) that implemented it is yet to settle its dues with the contractor Hindustan Construction Company (HCC). The amount of dues is itself disputed owing to cost escalation,as the construction of the sea link had taken nearly a decade.
MSRDC sources said the HCC had claimed about Rs 450-Rs 500 crore. MSRDC managing director Bipin Shrimali said a technical advisory committee had been looking into the claim for the past two months. The committee will look into the actual amount of cost escalation and submit a report to the MSRDC, Shrimali said,adding that it will then be tabled in front of the MSRDC board and subsequently submitted to the state government. No time line has been set for the committee to submit its report.
An HCC spokesperson refused to comment.
The work order for package 4 which pertains to construction of cable-stayed bridges and viaduct approaches extending from Worli up to the toll plaza of the Bandra-Worli Sea Link was signed in 2000. While the construction period originally planned was three years,the sea link was partially opened to the public only in June 2009 and fully completed in March 2010.
Issues such as logistical,environmental clearance and public interest litigation had slowed down the pace of the project while the design changes after the signing of the work order also led to significant cost escalation. The original cost of the section when the work order was signed was Rs 400 crore but the delays and design changes had inflated the cost to Rs 852 crore,as per the latest estimates.
A source said the HCC,which had to sit idle for nearly four years due to issues that plagued the project,is claiming for the cost escalation caused by the delay period for which the contractor was not responsible. The amount is significant and could put a strain on the companys finances,he said.
Mumbai-based HCC reported a loss of Rs 130.4 crore for the December quarter.