$1 bn loan from ADB for Super Expressway

The project will reduce the travelling time between Nagpur and Mumbai to eight hours from the present 16 hours.

Mumbai: The Maharashtra government’ ambitious Nagpur-Mumbai Super Communications Expressway project is likely to receive a US$ 1 billion loan from the Asian Development Bank.

Sources said that ADB, which generally gives $350 million for each project is likely to make an exception at the instance of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and provide $1 billion for the project in a phased manner.

Touted as a game-changer, the 793-km expressway will be developed on engineering procurement construction (EPC) cum annuity basis and is estimated to cost Rs 31,500 crore. The construction cost for the eight-lane expressway is estimated at Rs 30 crore per km, which involves six lanes of super communication highway and two lanes of service roads, utility shifting, bypass and other structures. The expressway will reduce the travelling time between the two cities to eight hours from the present 16 hours.

Meanwhile, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has also expressed an interest in funding the project, but the state government is not likely to approach JICA citing long delays in getting approvals.

According to officials of the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC), the nodal agency, JICA has a lengthy process for funding infrastructure projects and the Fadnavis government intends to complete the project by the next Assembly polls in 2019.

A senior MSRDC official added, “JICA has expressed interest in funding the project, but they take a long time to approve loans. In the case of Mumbai Trans Harbour Link and the Metro 3 project, we have seen that after giving an in-principle approval for these projects it took nearly a year to grant funds. We have a tight schedule and cannot wait that long for funds.”

Confirming the development, Radheshyam Mopalwar, Vice Chairman and Managing Director, MSRDC said, “We are not approaching JICA for the project. We have had discussion with Asian Development Bank and are going ahead with them.” A high-level delegation of the bank met the MSRDC officials last month. “We expect the detailed project report of the project to come in by October and we will float the bids by the year end,” Mopalwar added.

Upcoming projects funded by JICA

22-km Mumbai TransHarbour Link (MTHL) project — Rs 17,500 crore

33.5-km Colaba-Bandra-Seepz underground metro project — Rs 23,136 crore

508 km Mumbai – Ahmedabad High Speed Rail Corridor —  Rs 98,000 crore

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