Maharashtra cabinet approves 44% hike in Mumbai Metro 3 project cost, sets new deadline

Sanjay JogUpdated: Wednesday, August 10, 2022, 06:29 PM IST
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Maharashtra CM Eknath Shinde and Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis | PTI

In its first meeting after the expansion, the Maharashtra Cabinet on Wednesday approved an increase in the cost of the Colaba-Bandra-SEEPZ Metro 3 project to Rs 33,405.82 crore from Rs 23,136 crore, a rise of Rs 10,269.82 crore or about 44%.

Speaking after the cabinet meeting, Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said Chief Minister Eknath Shinde has asked the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Limited (MMRCL) to do the planning of the first phase of Metro 3 in such a way that it is completed by 2023. By 2031, about 17 lakh commuters will travel by Metro 3, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader added.

What are the reasons of the increase in cost?

Several reasons are being cited for the increase, including the time taken in excavation owing to the presence of basalt rock, adoption of bottom-up construction technology for want of space, additional cost incurred on account of rocky layers and the need to dispose of them, and the need to erect temporary steel decks for road traffic to allow construction of underground stations as many of them are in congested areas.

Yet another reason for the cost escalation is that Metro 3 stations have to accommodate eight coaches as against the six used by the Delhi Metro. Moreover, labour and accommodation are more expensive in Mumbai.

Meanwhile, the state government’s approval comes days after it allowed the MMRCL to resume work on the Metro 3 car shed in Aarey Colony in Goregaon (East).

A senior official with the state urban development department told The Free Press Journal that the loan needed for the project from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has increased by Rs 6,689 crore to Rs 19,924 crore.

The state government will have to bear a paltry additional cost of Rs 133.25 crore as its contribution has gone up to Rs 2,554.30 crore from Rs 2421.10 crore. But its share capital in the project will have to be increased to Rs 3,699.81 crore from Rs 2,402.07 crore, a rise of Rs 1,297.74 crore. This amount will come from the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) and is to be used for land acquisition, rehabilitation and tax.

The official said the government has authorised MMRCL managing director Ashwini Bhide to coordinate with the Centre and the JICA for availing of additional loan for the project.

In addition, the state urban development department has been authorised to correspond with the Centre for approval of the revised project report.

Project status:

On the status of the project, the official said that work on 54km of the 55km twin tunnels, or 97.6%, has been completed by deploying 17 tunnel-boring machines. Also, 82.6% of the work on 26 underground stations is over. The MMRC has completed acquisition of 73.14 hectares of government land and 2.56 hectares of private land for the project.

Various other works, including rolling stock, signalling, train controlling, platform screen doors, telecommunication and electricity supply networks, atmosphere control , lifts, escalators, fare collection are in various stages of completion.

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