January 6, 2009 12:14:07 am
The global meltdown hit city infrastructure projects dearly,but at least one ongoing project has definitely gained from it. Construction of a series of skywalks for pedestrians has proved to be an immensely cost-effective project considering that prices of steel and iron ore dropped drastically in the economic meltdown.
The Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (MMRDA) is constructing 50 skywalks across the metropolitan region at a cost of Rs 600 crore. Of these,the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) is constructing 18 skywalks.
We are expecting a straight Rs 200 crore reduction in the construction price due to the fall in the steel and iron ore prices. The money can be used for other developmental works, said MMRDA commissioner Ratnakar Gaikwad.
The iron ore and steel prices had doubled since the past two-three years due to boom in the realty sector. The 2008 Bejing Olympics,too,were one of the reasons for the rise in the commodity price. This almost doubled the construction cost, added Gaikwad.
However,the project has already been sanctioned by the MMRDA at a budget of Rs 600 crore. The agreement signed with the contractors has a clause to adjust the price if there is either a reduction or increase in commodity prices, said an MSRDC engineer.
The skywalks are already proving to be cost-effective for the MMRDA due to the advertisements they are earning. The Bandra skywalk fetched MMRDA a handsome Rs 79 crore after it sold its advertising rights to an advertising company. The MMRDA had spent only Rs 13 crore for construction of the skywalk.
Since the past few months,economic meltdown had hit various ambitious infrastructure projects such as the Worli-Haji Ali sea link,Mumbai Trans Harbour Link,and the Inland passenger water transport project. Most of the global players who were earlier interested in these projects later backed out.
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