Maharashtra seeks Centres intervention on WB aid

New Delhi, May 17 | Updated: May 18 2006, 05:30am hrs
The Maharashtra government has requested the Centre to prevail upon the World Bank to lift partial suspension on the funding plan for the Rs 4,300 crore Mumbai Urban Transport Plan (MUTP). The bank had put the funding of MUTP in abeyance, due to the governments tardiness in implementing the resettlement and rehabilitation (R&R) programme.

Two months ago, the multilateral agency decided to suspend the funding till the R&R work was over. According to senior government sources, the Maharashtra government is behind schedule in implementing the action plan to relocate the people displaced by MUTP.

The state government has assured the finance ministry that it is committed to the action plan. But it has argued that the completion of R&R work would atleast take two months and before that monsoon would set in, bringing the project to a standstill for long, sources said. Aid worth $150 million have been suspended as the Bank is not satisfied with the slow pace of resettlement.

Last month, the World Bank withdrew partial support to the $940 million road and rail renewal project under MUTP.

The main worry for the Maharashtra government is that the whole working season will be over by the time the action plan is completed and rains will set in by the time the suspension is lifted. MUTP has been in the news for wrong reasons since March 1, when the World Banks country office suspended disbursement of loans.

The World Bank is learnt to have complained about the slow progress on the part of the authorities in resolving issues relating to the resettlement of shopkeepers, grievance process and demolition of houses for road widening.

MUPT aims at effecting a sea change in the transport infrastructure of Mumbai: getting new roads laid, linking the city with its suburbs through rail network and also building a clutch of subways in the city.