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Friday, May 07, 2021

Oxygen shortage hits coastal road project in Mumbai

Oxygen was being used in fabrication, piling activities for promenade, steel works, construction and ramp and casting work that were being done alongside reclamation and other works.

Written by Laxman Singh | Mumbai |
Updated: May 1, 2021 5:55:17 am
Maharashtra coronavirus cases, Maharashtra Oxygen, Maharashtra Remdesivir, Maharashtra COVID-19, Maharashtra news, indian expressA man loads an oxygen cylinder into a cab in Mumbai on Saturday. (Express Photo: Pradip Das)

THE BRIHANMUMBAI Municipal Corporation (BMC) has received a request from contractors of the Mumbai Coastal Road project, seeking an extension of its July 2023 deadline in view of surge in Covid-19 cases and its impact on the industry.

The BMC is constructing a 10.58-km coastal road, from Princess Street flyover, Marine Lines to Worli end of Bandra-Worli sea link. The project will cost the BMC Rs 12,751 crore. Work on the ambitious project has further been affected after the Centre decided to limit use of liquid oxygen only for medical purpose.

Officials from the Coastal Road department said all fabrication works for the project have been affected for the past 10 days.

Oxygen was being used in fabrication, piling activities for promenade, steel works, construction and ramp and casting work that were being done alongside reclamation and other works.

The lack of oxygen, however, will not affect the tunnelling work. Twin tunnels of 2.07km length are being built as part of the project. A kilometre of the tunnels will be under the sea.

“There is a ban on oxygen supply for industries. There is no clarity on when the situation will be normal,” said V S Nighot, chief engineer of the Coastal Road department.

Nighot said the BMC may have to extend the deadline given the present crisis. The extension’s duration will be decided after pandemic situation improves.

He, however, said there will be no cost escalation of the project due to the delay.

Though oxygen supply has impacted fabrication work, unlike last year, there is no labour shortage now.

Following the nationwide lockdown last year, the project remained halted for about two months and the BMC had to extend the deadline from October 2022 to July 2023.

Officials said so far, 30 percent of the overall work has been completed. The agency has so far managed to reclaim 88 hectares of the desired 111 hectare-sea portion that was necessary to build the project.

Also, about 330 meters of boring for the twin tunnels below the Priyadarshini Park towards Malabar Hill has been completed.

“This year, there has been no significant impact in terms of labourers. Barring oxygen-related works, there is no impact on the work’s progress. All contractors have arranged for vaccination of their staff aged 45 or above. The remaining workers will be vaccinated after May 1. Except a few labourers who visit their villages during summer, all are here,” said a Coastal Road department official.

Over 2,500 staff work at all three sites of the project.

The civic body said the project would ensure seamless connectivity from Nariman Point to Bandra-Worli sea link and provide 70 hectares of open space in the city.

On April 27, Guardian Minister Aaditya Thackeray had reviewed the project’s progress and instructed officials to ensure zero flooding in the coastal areas due to the work.

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