In an exclusive interview with the Free Press Journal, the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation VC & MD, Radheshyam Mopalwar, who on Friday received a fourth extension, explained the strategy for executing projects worth Rs 1,81,000 crore.
Q: What is the present status of the 701-km Mumbai-Nagpur Samruddhi MahaMarg?
A: After the ebbing of the COVID 19 second wave, the work on Samruddhi MahaMarg has resumed at a renewed pace. The workers are returning to the site, oxygen availability is taken care of. So, all the structural works are now being taken up in the right earnest. During monsoon structural works will be completed.
There is not much of embankment work left, so the upper layers of the expressway like granular surface, dry-lean-concrete and the final layer of pavement quality concrete will also be taken up during monsoon.
MSRDC has completed 65% of the work, all seven tunnels which are very important are through. Out of 1,700 structures, 1,300 are already complete and the remaining 400 are in the upper level of completion. Tunnels are a big task but they are open at both sides. Tunnel finishing work will take 6 months.
Q: What are the other projects currently being undertaken by the MSRDC?
A: Apart from this, there is the Rs 6,600-crore Mumbai-Pune missing link. That work is also in full swing and should be completed by the end of 2022. The work on the Rs 775 crore bridge on Thane creek is being executed by L&T and it will be complete in the next two years.
The government has assigned some new responsibilities to the MSRDC comprising the Pune Ring Road (Rs 26,000 crore), Jalna-Nanded spur to Samruddhi MahaMarg (Rs 7,000 crore), Konkan Expressway (Rs 72,000 crore), Sagari MahaMarg (Rs 10,000 crore) and Virar-Alibaug Multimodal Corridor (Rs 40,000 crore). In addition, the Varsova-Virar is a long-term project (Rs 32,000 crore).
Q: What is the progress thus far on these projects?
A: Land acquisition for the Pune Ring Road is currently in progress. In the case of the Multi Modal Corridor, out of 106 villages, land measurement is complete in 66. Land acquisition is already on in these projects. In another fortnight, the MSRDC will kickstart the land acquisition process for Jalna-Nanded spur to Samruddhi MahaMarg.
The Sagari MahaMarg is a two-lane highway actually hugging the coast and it will recreate an experience of its own kind, somewhat like the Californian coastal highway. This will boost tourism and the first phase, which includes 10 bridges on various creeks, will be taken up after Diwali.
The Konkan Expressway is at present in the DPR stage. The DPR and clearances will take around two years.
The Jalna-Nanded is at the DPR stage as well. In the same fashion, Versova-Virar is a long-term project which will take 10 years. The DPR and clearances itself will take two to three years.
These are all revenue earning projects and toll-based projects. Therefore, raising debt will not be a big challenge. They are going to change the entire face of Maharashtra and will be a gamechanger.
The Virar-Alibaug Multi-Modal Corridor is a big bypass for Thane, Bhiwandi, Kalyan, Dombivli, Ulhasnagar, Ambernath and Panvel reaching JNPT, Pen and Alibaug. It will be a revenue earning highway. Apart from that it will have a metro and expressway going side by side. This will open up new areas of development and decongest Thane, Kalyan, Dombivli, Bhiwandi, Ulhasnagar and Ambernath. The Multi Modal Corridor will change the entire face of Mumbai Metropolitan Region that can be seen in the next quarter century.
Q: When will MSRDC be listed?
A: The government will take an appropriate decision only after full operationalisation of the Samruddhi MahaMarg and stabilization of traffic there.