By far the biggest road project to be envisaged in the country, the Nagpur-Mumbai Super Communication Expressway (NMSCE), is not being called a samruddhi mahamarg, or prosperity corridor, for nothing. To start with, the approximately 700-km road would be a greenfield project, cutting a swathe through 10 districts and using up about 9,330 hectares of land. Designed for speeds as high as 150 kmph, NMSCE would have underpasses for animals, as well as flyovers and interchanges at major road crossings. There would also be vehicular underpasses (VUP) and pedestrian underpasses (PUP) at every village and town even as the route avoids cutting across major towns and cities.
The estimated cost of the project is `46,000 crore, including civil works, project management consultant’s (PMC’s) fees, land acquisition, and the development of industrial clusters and townships along the expressway. So far, 64% of the land has been acquired. Construction work has been divided into 16 packages, the value of which is estimated at `27,000 crore, though the exact cost would be known only after the financial bids are opened. The Maharashtra Road Development Corporation (MSRDC), the nodal agency for the project, has already floated the request for proposal (RFP) inviting PMCs to bid and the process is likely to be completed by April 10. For the construction work, the RFP documents the MSRDC has floated have drawn participation from over 20 companies. The bids are expected to be evaluated in two-three weeks. Construction is expected to take up to three years after the project is awarded later this year.
Financing from banks is expected to take care of the civil engineering or construction costs of the project. MSRDC already has commitments from 12 banks for Rs 12,000 crore. This does not include State Bank of India, which, according to sources, is expected to commit “a big amount”. The South Korean government, which had expressed interest in the project in September, 2017, is expected to fund at least one or two of the 16 construction packages.
But it is in its state-of-the-art planning and the amenities to be offered to users that the project would truly stand out. Solar lighting is expected to ensure energy efficiency. Prioritising passenger needs, there would be telephones every 5 km, food plazas, restaurants, shops and other amenities such as trauma centres, bus bays and truck terminals. For beautification, the median between the carriageways would have plantation and landscaping. Cleanliness, lighting, greenery and digitised signages are expected to create an ambience of efficiency and comfort. Passengers would also get free Wi-Fi access. Traffic surveillance would be ensured and CCTV cameras would help enforcement officials monitor the entire length of the expressway.
Information technology parks and educational hubs have also been planned along the route. Radheshyam Mopalwar, VC & MD, MSRDC, tells FE MSRDC already has proposals from educational institutions. “International schools have proposed to set up campuses. Symbiosis also has expressed interest. This is one place which will not suffer litigation or court cases. It is so difficult to acquire 100 or 50 acres of land otherwise. When government allots land, it is trouble-free, litigation-free, and with a clear title. This suits educational institutions very well,” he says.