To ascertain the need for a harbour link and be assured of its usage and benefits before lending funds for the project, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) plans to conduct its own technical and financial feasibility study for the Mumbai Trans Harbour Link (MTHL).
A team from JICA had visited Mumbai over the past two days and held long meetings with senior officials of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) on the project. On Wednesday morning, the team also went on a site visit to Sewri as well as Nhava Sheva, the proposed ends of the MTHL.
UPS Madan, metropolitan commissioner at the MMRDA, said, “Through their own consultant, JICA will do some kind of calibration of the project. They would like to go through the technical and financial feasibility of MTHL to ensure that the project they are funding is worth taking up. The exact cost of the project and the loan component will also be determined after their study.” Madan added that JICA could roughly fund about 80 per cent of the project cost.
The 22-km MTHL had failed to attract even a single bid last year on a public-private partnership model in what was its third failed round of tendering over the past one decade. Companies who had originally evinced interest in the project had later decided to stay away citing lack of clear traffic projections as much of the traffic will depend on the future development on the main land. The MMRDA then decided to take up the project on a cash contract.
“We had written to the Union urban development ministry, which after taking suggestions from the road transport ministry and the central public works department, sent the proposal to the finance ministry’s Department of Economic Affairs (DEA). After approving the proposal, the DEA approached JICA for funding for the MTHL,” Madan said.
The MMRDA chief also said that JICA has already included the MTHL, which was as per 2012 estimates expected to cost Rs 9,630 crore, in its rolling plan.