Mumbai: At over Rs 14,000 crore, the showpiece Sewri-Nhava Sheva Mumbai Trans Harbour Link (MTHL) is one of Mumbai’s most expensive road links, and is likely to get even pricier.
Contractors in charge of the actual construction have claimed a cost escalation of 5-15 per cent across the three construction packages of the project. The contractors made these claims to the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), citing certain design changes and additional components as well as delays due to the Covid-19 lockdowns.
“The project management consultant for the MTHL is appraising the merits of the contractors’ submissions and we will take a decision on whether to approve the cost increase accordingly,” a state government official, who did not wish to be named, told ThePrint.
“As per norms, if the cost escalation claims are within 20 per cent of the contract amount, the MMRDA Commissioner (SVR Srinivas) himself can take a call on it without seeking the approval of the development authority’s executive committee or the state government,” the official added.
The matter has already been discussed in the MMRDA’s executive committee meeting under the chairmanship of Chief Secretary Sitaram Kunte earlier this month.
The under-construction MTHL is to be a 22-km link across the Mumbai harbour, connecting Sewri in south Mumbai to Nhava Sheva on the mainland over the sea. The link, work on which started in 2018, will be a key connector to the proposed Navi Mumbai International Airport.
Cost escalations claims of 5-15%
Overall, the cost of the MTHL is pegged at Rs 17,843 crore, of which the total cost of construction across the three packages is Rs 14,262 crore.
The total cost also includes the price of land acquisition, consultancy fees, administrative costs, taxes and so on. The MMRDA is implementing the project with financial assistance from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
According to the project’s current deadline, it is to be completed by September 2022, but officials say there could be a delay.
“There were certain design changes that were required because the location of underground utilities was different from what was shown during the preparatory work. Some additional barges have also been added to the project. Moreover, the pandemic and the lockdown led to some delays in the work,” a senior MMRDA official said.
The project development has been envisaged across three packages.
In the first, which involves constructing the first 10.3 km of the 22-km link, the contractor has claimed an escalation of Rs 424.33 crore — Rs 140.62 crore for additional work, and Rs 283.71 crore for compensation due to delays. If approved, this will be a 5.5 per cent escalation over the contract package cost of Rs 7,637.29 crore.
The second package involves the construction of the link from 10.3 km to 18.18 km, and the contractor has claimed an escalation of Rs 609 crore. This is 10.8 per cent over the original contract cost of Rs 5,612.6 crore for the second package. Of this, a hike of Rs 152.97 crore is due to additional components, while Rs 457 crore is due to compensation for delays.
In the third package, which involves the construction of the rest of the link after 18.18 km, the contractor has asked for a hike of Rs 146.74 crore, which is about 14.5 per cent over the total package cost of Rs 1,013.79 crore.
(Edited by Manasa Mohan)
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