Jan 5, 2008

Bandra-Worli Sealink Progress

A six kilometre road from Bandra Reclamation to Worli Sea face that will reduce travel time by as much as an hour is sparking yet another controversy.

Its already three decades late but was finally slated for completion in May 2008. But once again the battle over costs is getting the Rs 1,300 crore project off track.

Ajit Gulabchand, Chairman of HCC, the contractor for the project says that the company has stopped buying materials to restart work post monsoon because the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation or MSRDC is shirking payments.

"Ask the MSRDC or the state government about whats happening with the project. We have told them that they owe us Rs 284 crore for features that they ask us to add to the project. We have already taken on losses and written them off. The project is not stalled by us, but we have stopped procurement for the work that is supposed to begin in October post monsoon," said Ajit Gulabchand, Chairman, HCC.

The MSRDC has a different story to tell. The MSRDC alleges that HCC has stalled the project instead of taking it the appropriate forum. They also say that HCC has inflated the cost of the project for which MSRDC is not liable.


"We believe that they owe us Rs 284 crore, if they don't accept that then lets take it to an arbitration panel that will decide. But the MSRDC is not making any moves," added Gulabchand.

There's now no chance of the project being completed even by May 2008. Ajit Gulabchand says that the earliest would be December next year and that’s only if arbitration takes place. The only people really losing out are the citizens of Mumbai, who battle frustratingly heavy traffic and delayed journeys, with no visible respite even in the next year.

UPDATES:

The project is now likely to be done only by January 2009. New, 13 Km sealink between Bandra and Versova is being planned. Worli to Haaji Ali sealink is being planned as well. This will be 4.5 km in length costing about Rs. 750 crores.



Here's the Video on this project.