The Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC) will have to spend about Rs 20 crore a year for at least three years to accommodate government offices and offices of political parties in the prime Nariman Point area, where they are located now.
The parties, which include the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Shiv Sena, have to temporarily vacate their current premises-barracks opposite Vidhan Bhavan in Nariman Point-to make way for a proposed Metro station on the planned Colaba-Bandra-Seepz underground Metro line. They have to be given alternative accommodation in accordance with the Metro plan.
The 33.5-km Colaba-Bandra-Seepz Metro is touted to be Mumbai’s first and the country’s longest underground Metro rail corridor, estimated to cost Rs 23,136 crore. Political parties are willing to move out of their current office for the project but are reluctant to shift out of Nariman Point, one of Mumbai’s prime locations.
MMRC has floated a tender calling for quotations for office space in or close to Nariman Point to rent it to political parties and government offices, keeping Rs 225 per square feet as maximum acceptable price. The corporation is looking for properties having a minimum carpet area of 4,000 square feet, the total requirement being 77,000 square feet.
As per its estimates, renting 77,000 square feet in Nariman Point can cost the MMRC a maximum of Rs 1.73 crore a month or Rs 20.79 crore a year. The corporation will pick property with the lowest quoted rent.
Ashwini Bhide, managing director of the MMRC, said, “Parties do not want to shift out of Nariman Point. In case it works out to be very expensive, we can request the state government to allow government offices to be moved to other locations. However, we want to be ready with the options.”
She added that of the 77,000 square feet, about 40,000 square feet is for government offices and the rest is for political parties. Besides, the Shiv Sena and NCP, smaller parties such as the People’s Republican Party and the Peasants and Workers Party will be affected by the Metro construction work.
The MMRC had earlier reached out to property owners in and around Nariman Point and had individually received quotations from Rs 150 per square feet to Rs 250 per square feet prior to calling for tenders.
To cut rental costs, the corporation is considering the feasibility of accommodating political parties by building temporary barracks in the parking space of Vidhan Bhavan and has already held a preliminary discussion with the assembly speaker, said a government official on the condition of anonymity.
Nawab Malik, NCP spokesperson, said, “The entire political circle is in Nariman Point. The Mantralaya, Vidhan Bhavan, MLA hostels are all there. We will not obstruct development, but have requested for alternative accommodation in the same area as it will be helpful for party workers and visitors. We will see options they are offering us and then decide.”