The Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC), the state’s nodal agency for big-ticket projects, is implementing projects worth Rs 65,000 crore, including the Nagpur-Mumbai expressway, the first-of-its-kind super communication expressway in the country.
The Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC), the state’s nodal agency for big-ticket projects, is implementing projects worth Rs 65,000 crore, including the Nagpur-Mumbai expressway, the first-of-its-kind super communication expressway in the country. Kiran V Kurundkar, Joint MD, MSRDC, spoke to Rouhan Sharma about the projects, stressing that scrapping of toll charges in Maharashtra would hinder infrastructure creation.
What are your upcoming projects, apart from the Nagpur-Mumbai expressway?
As you might be already aware, the Nagpur-Mumbai expressway will be 706 km in length and cost R46,000 crore, of which Rs 33,000 is the engineering cost and Rs 13,000 crore would be the outgo on land acquisition.
Capacity augmentation of the Mumbai-Pune expressway is the second project. We are in the process of finalising contracts for constructing the missing links between Khalapur toll plaza and Sinhgad Institute near Lonavala. With these, traffic congestion in the hills on a 4.5 km-long stretch will ease. The estimated project cost is Rs 7,000 crore.
The third and fourth projects are both in Thane. One is the Thane creek bridge (Vashi bridge) and entails construction of a third bridge besides the existing ones. The second project in Thane is on the Thane-Ghodbunder road which joins with the national highway that goes all the way up to Ahmedabad. We will construct an elevated road on a stretch of about 5 km through the hills.
Then, there is the underground tunnel we are planning below the Sanjay Gandhi National Park to connect Thane in the central suburbs to Borivali in the western suburbs. There is also the Satara-Kagal project which involves widening of the road to six lanes from four lanes.
Are you also going ahead with the Bandra-Versova sea link?
Yes. The BMC will build the coastal road. So there will be a coastal road as well as a Bandra-Versova sea link of 9.5 km length.
What is the point in having both since they would overlap?
The coastal road will connect the local areas. We will provide three connecting roads from the Bandra-Versova sea link to the coastal road. Taken together with the three connectors, the Bandra-Versova sea link will be 14 km long and cost Rs 7,500 crore.
How will money be raised for these projects?
We have just appointed Ernst & Young for arranging finances for us. The estimated cost is R15,800 crore and E&Y will do the debt syndication.
Isn’t that a lot on your plate?
Yes. Projects worth Rs 60,000-70,000 crore would need close monitoring at the management level and we have instituted a project planning and portfolio management unit specifically for the purpose. We ran a bid process for it and appointed E&Y as our consultants.
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What are your views on the termination of toll charges in Maharashtra?
I think 50% of the people are okay with user charges but there are those other than the actual users who create problems. Such people have to understand the concept of a contract. Otherwise, what happens to loans
incurred for creating any facility? It will simply get passed on to the state budget. These monies could instead be used for creating infrastructure.
What has been its impact on MSRDC?
Our main source of income were light motor vehicles which got exempted from toll except on the Bandra-Worli sea link, Mumbai-Pune expressway and Mumbai entry points. This has seen our calculations go haywire. We are now in consultation with the state government on how to repay loans. We are yet to receive over R3,500 crore in all from urban local bodies and the state government.