Mumbai: Tiff between Maharashtra government and Indian Railways leaves thousands of crores of work pending

Mumbai: Tiff between Maharashtra government and Indian Railways leaves thousands of crores of work pending

These projects are jointly funded by the Maharashtra government and Centre with equal sharing.

Shashank RaoUpdated: Thursday, April 07, 2022, 09:58 PM IST
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Photo by BL SONI

Mumbai rail's planning body Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation (MRVC) has only Rs 24 crore left in its bank account. And they have taken up works worth over Rs 44600 crore in Mumbai. They have been left in this precarious situation thanks to the tiff between the Maharashtra government and Indian Railways at the Centre. Its an outcome, there is every possibility that for now various works under phase 3 and 3A of the Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP) will come to a standstill as there is no money in the kitty.

There is high possibility that early next week top railway officials will have meeting with the Maharashtra government. Mumbai’s lifeline, the suburban local trains and its system is undergoing a massive visible transformation thanks to the MUTP works carried out by MRVC apart from other projects. The different projects under MUTP are underway for past 15-16 years now. At present MUTP-3 and MUTP-3A are ongoing in different stages.

These projects are jointly funded by the Maharashtra government and Centre with equal sharing. There is also a loan component from Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) which is partly funding – around Rs 3500 crore – the government against receipts of work completed. However, for the past 2.5 years now, funding has remained scarce, as the Maharashtra government hasn’t paid their contribution to MRVC and MUTP. The only contribution; that too indirectly made by the state government as claimed by railway officials, is the allotment of local train travel surcharge that comes to Rs 8-9 crore per month; another 50 per cent contribution is made by the Centre.

Sources said that as of now more than Rs 2000 crore is pending from Maharashtra government. This includes the Rs 1000 crore for this year. The MRVC had to take much effort to clear and acquire lands for Virar-Dahanu, Panvel-Karjat and Airoli-Kalwa rail corridors among other projects proposed under the latest phases of MUTP. Against this they have to pay Rs 400 crore to different agencies and government bodies; which if not done then there is high chance of land getting encroached upon, not released for MUTP or even legal tangles among other issues.

All that MRVC has now is Rs 24 crore in their kitty. They have bills of more than Rs 100 crore that they have to pay the contractors. They are clearing smaller bills amounting to few crores in single digit. The railway officials worry that if this continues until mid-April then the momentum to implement projects will be lost, transfers of railway officials on deputation will have to be made and salaries of employees that come to Rs 4 crore per month; would be stopped.

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