Status Of Mumbai’s Infrastructure Projects Amid Covid-19 Second Wave
The pandemic initially slowed progress on infrastructure projects in Mumbai and its neighbouring region before works resumed.
As India’s financial capital, like the rest of the nation, battles a second surge of Covid-19, here’s what’s the status of projects from Mumbai metro to Navi Mumbai airport:
The 9.98-kilometre south section of Mumbai’s costal road will be delayed by at least a year for reasons Covid and beyond.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation project, that went ahead despite opposition from environmentalists and fisherfolk, includes a 3.45-km tunnel under Malabar Hill. It will connect the Princess Street Flyover on Marine Drive to the Worli end of the sea link at a cost of Rs 12,721 crore. Work began in October 2018.
“The earlier completion date of the project was October 2022 but due to the delays caused by various court cases, the deadline now has been pushed to 23rd July 2023,” said Vijay Nighot, chief engineer at BMC's coastal road project. “However, in this time frame time lost due to Covid pandemic has not been counted so the timeline might be extended for another four-five months.”
Nighot, however, said there will be no cost escalation despite the litigation, resources lying idle and contractor claims under process.
While the litigation remains pending, the Supreme Court has not halted work on the coastal road. Of the tunnel, the BMC has completed 305 metres as on April 22. Nearly 7 metres of tunneling work is completed every day.
Mumbai Trans-Harbour Link Road
Mumbai Trans-Harbour Link Road is a 22-km sea bridge, the nation’s longest, connecting Sewri in mainland Mumbai to Nhava Sheva in Navi Mumbai. It’s divided into three packages. And there are chances that it may be delayed.
Letters of commencement to the contractors for all the packages were issued on March 23, 2018. The construction period for package 1 and 2 is 54 months (September 2022) and package 3 is 42 months (September 2021), Mumbai Metropolitan Region Authority, the agency handling the project, said in a response to BloombergQuint’s queries. “However, there may be delays due to Covid-19 pandemic and other reasons. No EoT (extension of time) has yet been granted to any of the three packages.”
The total project cost is Rs 17,843 crore. According to MMRDA, about 46% of combined financial progress for the three packages has been achieved till end of February 2021.
“The works were affected due to lockdown and restrictions laid down vide various directives issued by concerned authorities from time to time during Covid-19 pandemic,” MMRDA said to BloombergQuint. “The contractors have mobilised additional resources at site to make up the probable delays due to the lockdown/restrictions.”
To decongest traffic in Mumbai and to ease pressure on the already-overloaded suburban train network, the government is implementing an elaborate city-wide metro rail network comprising 14 lines, one of which is one is underground.
Metro Line A from Versova to Ghatokopar is already operational while others are under various stages of construction. MMRDA is building 12 overhead lines.
Mumbai Metro Line 3
This 33.5-km only underground metro Line 3 connecting Colaba-Bandra-Seepz courted controversy over a car shed at Aarey Colony. Protests by activists and environmentalists prompted the Uddhav Thackery-led MVA government to shift the shed’s location to Kanjurmarg but the matter is still pending in court.
Mumbai Metro Rail Corp. has completed 95% of tunnelling and 65% of total project work, Ranjit Singh Deol, managing director at the agency, said in a texted response.
Deol said MMRC is working towards finishing phase 1 by September 2022 and phase 2 by March 2023. “However, considering the pandemic, its effect and the uncertainty that looms over its cure, it will be difficult to spell out a time frame in which the project can be completed. Human life will always precede every venture.”
MMRC is working with a restricted number of workers while following pandemic protocols. It’s also facing supply-chain issues, shortage of workers skilled in control blasting and those who can operate special equipment and machinery, he said, adding that experts and consultants aren’t available because of travel restrictions.
Navi Mumbai International Airport
The Rs 16,000 crore project is crucial to ease the burden of the existing Mumbai airport that had almost run out of room before the pandemic struck. The first phase of the project was to be completed by the end of 2019 but the deadline has been pushed because of several reasons, including land acquisition and environment clearances.
An official of the Maharashtra’s City and Industrial Development Corporation, the nodal agency for the project, said while work was delayed because of the pandemic, it’s back on schedule.
Relief and rehabilitation for affected villages is complete for many and at an advanced stage of competition for some.
Pre-development work on land and diverting the Ulwe river have been completed and rerouting of high-voltage power lines is near completion. Land development by the concessionaire is expected to start shortly, the official said.