Mumbai : Alleging that there has been an enormous cost escalation in the Mumbai Metro Rail project, BJP on Thursday demanded that Maharashtra government should conduct a special audit to find out the `real cost’.
“There has been a cost escalation of upto 300 percent in the Mumbai Metro Rail, which is a public-private-partnership project. I have written to the chief secretary J S Saharia and demanded a special CAG audit,” BJP leader and former MP Kirit Somaiya said here.
Anil Ambani-owned Reliance Infra owns a 69 pc stake in Mumbai Metro One Pvt Ltd (MMOPL), the execution agency. State-run Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) holds 26 per cent equity while the rest is held by Veolia Transport RATP Asia.
Somaiya said he sought details of the cost escalation from MMRDA, but drew a blank.
Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, who is the chairman of MMRDA, did not question the cost escalation, Somaiya alleged, adding that he would be meeting the CAG next week.
Meanwhile, MMOPL said in a statement here that it was “open to scrutiny as may be applicable under the relevant laws”. “The Mumbai Metro is one of the most difficult infrastructure projects ever built in dense urban city in India,” the statement said.
It was delayed “only due to inability of MMRDA/ Govt of Maharashtra in providing the required 100 per cent unencumbered Right of Way (ROW) and the committed access to the Metro Corridor by September, 2007”, it said.
“Limited encumbered ROW, difficult underground utilities and narrow access to the corridor, all this resulted in significant alteration/ changes in overall design and specifically of the foundation design, which increased from planned 11 numbers to more than 220 numbers of different types.
“All these delays in grant of unencumbered ROW, changes in designs coupled with steep increase in each and every economic indices, inflation, interest rates, exchange rates etc resulted into the cost increase. MMRDA, the implementation agency is fully aware of these aspects,” it stated.