Mumbai elevated rly corridor finally sees light of day

Written by Rajat Arora | New Delhi | Updated: Apr 20 2013, 09:23am hrs
Indias largest rail public-private partnership (PPP) project for constructing an elevated rail corridor in Mumbai at the cost of R21,000 crore has finally started making some headway.

The state support agreement (SSA), a mandatory condition for initiating such projects, which has been a sticky issue between the Maharashtra government and the Railways, is expected to be signed soon.

The SSA is an umbrella agreement ensuring support from the state government for infrastructure projects in terms of allowing commercial activity on land. Bidders for PPP projects use the SSA as a pre-condition for their bids.

The sticky issue of development of real estate for commercial utilisation within the corridor by the concessionaire has been sorted out and the railways will receive the agreement from the state government in a week or so. The SSA will be signed in a month, a rail official told FE.

Rail minister Pawan Bansal is also pushing the project with the state government, which has to provide its support in relation to land various clearances.

Despite Prime Minister Manmohan Singh insisting on completing the process by December 21, the SSA wasn't signed as local agencies of Mumbai had their reservations on the commercial utilisation of land by the concessionaire. The bidding for the elevated rail corridor project was to be completed before the presentation of the Railway Budget in February.

The project is currently in the pre-bid stage and some of the major infrastructure companies such as L&T, IDPL, Gammon Infra, IL&FS Transportation, GMR Infra and CAF South Africa have evinced interest in the project. The clearances for the development of commercial space have to be given so that the project becomes viable for the concessionaire. The duration of concession agreement is also to be decided. The total land acquisition requirement of 13.7 hectare for the project has been finalised, the rail official added.

The project involves the construction of a 63-km-long elevated corridor, connecting Churchgate in south Mumbai to Virar. The corridor will be used for an air-conditioned EMU service and would be offered to the top successful bidder under the design, build, finance, operate and transfer basis.