Mumbai: Seven months after Mumbai-Nagpur Super Communication Expressway or Samruddhi Mahamarg was inaugurated, wayside amenities and food courts remain out of public reach. Having such passenger-friendly amenities helps in ensuring overall accident cases are reduced.
A senior Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) official confirmed that there has been a delay in rolling out amenities for expressway users. “Already a few iterations were made to the tender document,” the official shared. The plan is to have 16 food courts along the Hindu Hruday Samrat Balasaheb Thackeray Maharashtra Samruddhi Mahamarg, eight on each side of the corridor.
On an average, there will be a food court every 80-90km. Gradually, the number may be increased in the years to follow depending on the increase in vehicular traffic.
Just one agency filled tender yet
In December, the Free Press Journal reported that such facilities would take six months to be established on the 701km long expressway connecting the western coast of the country with Central India. Earlier this year, the MSRDC had invited bids to set the ball rolling. However, only one agency has shown its willingness to provide food courts, public conveniences and auxiliary facilities.
With only one private agency showing interest, the response will be tabled in front of the chaired by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde. “The Board will decide whether to go ahead with the only bid received or go in for re-tendering,” said another MSRDC official. Through such facilities, MSRDC is looking at earning a minimum of Rs235.40 crore, the reserve price as ‘Highest Upfront Lease Premium’ from the private player who will be given the rights to manage the facilities.
According to transport experts, having such facilities at regular intervals helps motorists take break while driving long distances, which in turn results in them re-fueling their respective vehicles and adjusting tyre pressure. Additionally, the stopover also leads to a break from the monotony of driving on the expressway that barely has any turns. Otherwise, it leads to driving road hypnosis, which can prove fatal. Until these come up, the motorists will have to exit the expressway in between and scout for the best available eatery or dhabas and re-enter to continue the remainder of the journey.
Since its inauguration in December up to April 30, 39 people have lost their lives and 143 suffered various degrees of injuries in the 358 accidents, as per the statistics available with State Highway Police. They have blamed road hypnosis as one of the prime causes of these mishaps.
In December, 520km between Nagpur and Shirdi was made open. In May, another 80km was inaugurated. Now, only 10km stretch between Bharvir and near Thane is left, which is likely to be ready later this year.
Inaugurated in Dec 2022
Food courts still out of public reach
Plan to have 16 food courts
Eight on each side of corridor
Food court at every 80-90km