The Maharashtra government seems to be moving fast on the R6,000-crore Bandra-Versova Sea Link (BVSL). The implementing authority for the project, Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC), will be floating the request for proposal (RFP) for the project in the next one week. SM Ramchandani, joint managing director, MSRDC, told FE the project cost of the 14.8-km sea link project remains R6,000 crore, denying it will be revised upwards. “There is no hike in the Bandra-Versova Sea Link’s project cost and we will be floating the RFP in the next one week,” Ramchandani said. He also denied there was any conflict between the sea link and the R8,000-crore Nariman Point-Kandivali coastal road project, which he said was yet to be approved by the central government.
The previous chief minister of Maharashtra, Prithviraj Chavan, had said in June this year that sea links were not financially viable and that the government had submitted a proposal to the Centre to construct a 35-km coastal road between Nariman Point in south Mumbai and Kandivali in the north of the city.
With a BJP government in charge, several multi-crore infrastructure projects, some of which have been struck for over three decades, are likely to be dusted off and given another look. However, many of these have seen a sharp increase in costs and may not attract bidders.
The ambitious Mumbai Trans Harbour Link, the 22-km, Rs 11,000-crore project proposed from Sewri in the island city of Mumbai to Nhava in Navi Mumbai, failed to attract even a single bid last year in August, the third failed attempt by the state government to give out the project for construction. The Bandra-Versova Sea Link too managed to get only two bids at the pre-qualification stage, one from IRB Infrastructure and the other from Larsen & Toubro, though six companies had shown interest in the project.
The Bandra-Versova Sea Link is slated to be built under the public-private partnership model and will be a tolled project. It is expected that over 45,000 vehicles will be using the link by 2020, which would include buses, cars, light commercial vehicles and trucks. The vehicle count is expected to cross 1.2 lakh by 2045. MSRDC has applied to the central government for viability gap funding for up to 20% of the project cost and is also in talks with Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for funding of the project.