Grand infrastructure projects on paper, but no show on the ground
August 07, 2013
The city’s over-burdened infrastructure has made commute a daily struggle for Mumbaiites, but the state is doing nothing to ease our misery.
Although government agencies have been drawing up grand plans to upgrade infrastructure, lack of planning and poor implementation have resulted in many projects either getting delayed or scrapped.
“The government has lost its credibility due to inefficiency and rampant corruption, which has in turn affected development activities. The chief minister is not taking prompt decisions on various key issues so investors are concerned about investing their money in infrastructure projects. In addition, the Congress- NCP feud has also hit the progress of the projects.” Nitin Gadkari, Senior BJP leader
Take the case of the Mumbai Trans Harbour Link (MTHL), which has failed to take off for the third time, with the consortia backing off owing to the delay in the construction of Navi Mumbai airport.
An attempt was made to start the tendering process in 2005 and then in 2008.
Narinder Nayar, chairman of Mumbai First, said: “Projects are getting delayed or scrapped because they are badly planned. Authorities should adopt new methods while awarding contracts to generate confidence in investors and make projects viable.”
Currently, big-ticket projects in Mumbai Metropolitan Region such as Navi Mumbai airport, MTHL, the coastal road and sea links on the western coast are struggling to take off.
Only the first line of the metro is near completion, after a three-year delay.
The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority, headed by chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, has built just 11.4 km of the metro corridor against the 146 km proposed in 2004 — that’s not even 10% in nine years.
The first line is expected to start this year, but the second route, Charkop-Bandra Mankhurd, is still only on paper.
BJP leader Nitin Gadkari, who got the Mumbai-Pune Expressway and a number of flyovers in Mumbai built as well as initiated construction of BandraWorli sea link during his fourand-a-half year stint as public works department minister, criticised the government for failing to create a pro-development environment.
“The government has lost its credibility due to inefficiency and corruption, which has affected development activities. The CM is not taking prompt decisions on key issues, so investors are concerned about putting their money in projects,” said Gadkari.
“The Congress-NCP feud has also affected projects.”
“Many projects face uncertainty due to political interference. If infrastructure is not developed on time, businesses will start moving out like it happened in Detroit city,” said a former state secretary.