BMC’s Coastal Road project goes for a toss after migrant labourers leave Mumbai to head back to their hometowns

Dipti SinghUpdated: Thursday, June 11, 2020, 07:16 AM IST
article-image
Mumbai coastal road project | Image source: Field Services On Demand/Twitter

Mumbai: As lakhs of migrant labourers have left the city to head back to their hometowns and villages amid the coronavirus outbreak, the exodus seems to have hit the progress of projects that depended on this workforce. A good example is the BMC’s ambitious Coastal Road project, the work on which has gone for a toss after more than 100 skilled labourers working on the project site migrated to their hometowns, sources said. "Until the beginning of May, we had nearly 500 skilled workers. As of the first week of June, the number has come down to 350. We got to know that over 100 of these workers have already left for their hometowns. A majority of these workers belong to Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and even Andhra Pradesh.

We are hopeful that they will be back in the next 15 days, or by next month," Vjiay Nighot, chief engineer, BMC’s coastal road project, told The Free Press Journal. The BMC was aiming to rush towards completion of a certain portion of the work on the project before monsoon. However, due to shortage of skilled workers, the work is unlikely to be completed before the rains set in. Nighot, however, said that despite the shortage of skilled workers, work on the project has not stopped. "Almost 10 percent of the work has been completed, which includes reclamation, building up of sea wall, piling and excavation for launching shafts. We had got parts of the Tunnel Boring Machine in April itself. However, unless the launching shaft is ready we cannot lower it," added Nighot.

The project also lost over 15 days after the lockdown was announced. "We are now looking at readying the launching shaft and loading of TBM parts by the first week of August, and by the second week of October 2020, actual tunneling will begin," said Nighot. A tunnel boring machine (TBM), of 12.19 m width, arrived from Shanghai in April, covering a distance of 5,000-plus nautical miles on a ship. However, the BMC is yet to complete the work on the launching shaft. Unless the launching shaft is ready, parts of the TBM cannot be loaded and assembled. Once the launching shaft is ready, it can be lowered onto the shaft and the work of tunneling will begin.

This TBM will then drill twin tunnels, which will be partially under the sea, between Girgaum and Malabar Hill. The tunnels will each be 3.4 km long, counting the distance of entry and exit routes. The BMC has been targeting completion of the 10 km long coastal road project between Marine Drive and Worli by December 2022, despite a five month disruption last year. The Rs. 12,000 crore project was originally to be completed in four years since commencement of work in October 2018. On September 25, 2018, the BMC standing committee gave its nod to the project and several works were commissioned the very next month.

However, a court stay till December 2019 led to the work coming to a standstill. Contractors then said they might require additional time for the project to cover up the lost time, but senior BMC officials remained firm on the decision of making the coastal road operational by December 2022. The coastal road, once completed, is expected to be used by nearly 1,30,000 vehicles every day and reduce the two hour drive between South Mumbai and the city’s western suburbs to 40 minutes. The project has faced resistance from citizens groups, environmental activists, and the fishing community in Worli Koliwada on the potential damage it can cause to the environment.

(To receive our E-paper on whatsapp daily, please click here. To receive it on Telegram, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)

RECENT STORIES

5th Test: Cheteshwar Pujara scores gritty 50 as India reach 125-3 against England on Day 3 to lead...

5th Test: Cheteshwar Pujara scores gritty 50 as India reach 125-3 against England on Day 3 to lead...

Warm-up match: All-round Harshal Patel stars in India's 10-run victory over Northamptonshire

Warm-up match: All-round Harshal Patel stars in India's 10-run victory over Northamptonshire

Mumbai: Wife gets anticipatory bail in cash-for-job scam

Mumbai: Wife gets anticipatory bail in cash-for-job scam

Speaker’s Election: Ruling & Opposition members take dig against each other

Speaker’s Election: Ruling & Opposition members take dig against each other

ED summons former Mumbai CP Sanjay Pandey in connection with NSE co-location scam

ED summons former Mumbai CP Sanjay Pandey in connection with NSE co-location scam