Mumbai: Covid lockdowns take a toll on Versova-Bandra Sealink project work

The Covid-19 pandemic induced lockdown has significantly affected the work on the under construction Versova Bandra Sealink project. A senior official from the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) who did not wish to be named said the work is almost stalled. "Due to manpower shortage and other reasons, the work is going at a snail's pace. Only the soil testing and piling work is going on." The work contract is for five years of which two years have already passed, asserted the official.

The project work has faced a lot of challenges. Initially, for the want of a casting yard the project work progress was impacted. However, the official added, "Though the casting yard issue was there, the yard is useful to cast viaducts. Therefore at least the work of construction of pillars in water should have been done so far but nothing could be seen."

The FPJ had reported how the project was delayed by six months more when the first nationwide lockdown was imposed. Similarly, again in this second wave, the project work once again has been hindered.

The consortium of Reliance Infrastructure-Astaldi is building the 17-kilometre-long sealink having four connectors at an estimated cost of Rs 7,000 crore. The cost is three times higher than that of the existing Bandra-Worli Sealink.

The project was reportedly embroiled in a controversy over lack of casting yard. It was only in July 2020, that the MSRDC was able to allot an alternate land parcel at Malad to the appointed contractor for the casting yard purpose, which was earlier proposed at Juhu beach but due to environmental concern, the proposed land was cancelled.

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