Hike in stations, depots, tunnels works increases Metro-3 cost

Mumbai: The Colaba-Bandra-Seepz Metro-3 project seems to be in a financial turmoil owing to cost escalation of nearly Rs 10270 crore. If we go into details then a considerable hike has taken place in construction of tunnels, stations, depot and other infrastructure works taking the amount to well over Rs 8000 crore plus there are other avenues too where expenditure has upped. This comes at a time when Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray directed Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Limited (MMRCL), to submit the revised escalated cost for approval in the Cabinet. The Free Press Journal reported about it on July 13.
A detailed segregation of expenses show that cost has surged on several accounts; signaling systems, power supply, trains, fees paid to General Consultants, taxes paid to state and central government, land acquisition and rehabilitation of PAPs apart from construction cost that saw a hike of Rs 8003 crore. The experts are questioning the reason behind this skyrocketed project cost that has touched Rs 33406 crore from the earlier Rs 23136 crore (excluding Rs 806 crore of state tax). The only expenditure which MMRC saved on was interest on construction cost that has come down by Rs 263 crore.
"The construction of tunnels and stations are more or less on time. We have already completed 95 percent of tunneling. Work on stations and laying of tracks are also underway. Such large projects see cost escalations due to various reasons," said a government official on condition of anonymity.
For instance, cost of procuring metro trains, signaling and power supply systems has spiraled to Rs 4391 crore from Rs 3128 crore. The Free Press Journal had reported about two rakes of 8-car each meant for Metro-3 being ready at Alstom's SriCity facility in Andhra Pradesh but they would not be transported here anytime soon. The land acquisition and rehabilitation cost has increased from Rs 590 crore to Rs 1483 crore. Sources said that rehabilitation of people staying in Girgaum and Kalbadevi affected the project cost. Taxes paid to the State and Central government increased by Rs 94 crore.
Sources said that Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) that is funding almost 57.20 percent of project cost amounting to loan amount of Rs 13236 crore; is now expected to provide an additional loan of Rs 6688 crore. "The question is, has the state government agreed to this? Also, in the first place, why has there been a steep hike in project cost?" questioned an expert who has been tracking development of the Metro-3 line.
Just a few days ago, former Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis told the FPJ that the Committee setup by this government suggested that carshed in Kanjurmarg will further increase the cost of the project by Rs 5000 crore and that if Aarey work is completed then Metro-3 will be up and running in max 10-12 months.

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