|If all goes according to plan, work on the Bandra-Versova Sea Link (BVSL) is expected to begin by 2018-19. The state government has finally granted administrative approval for the Rs. 7,502-crore project eight years after the state cabinet committee on infrastructure cleared the proposal.|
On Monday, the state public works department issued a government resolution (GR) flashing the green light to the crucial infrastructure project which will help ease the traffic situation in the western suburbs. The GR, however, did not mention when the work would begin, or the deadline.
Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) will be the nodal agency that will float tenders for the proposed BVSL project, which is an extension of the Bandra-Worli Sea Link, in the next four months.
The state cabinet committee on infrastructure had cleared the original project in August 2009 and all necessary permissions, including coastal regulation zone and environment clearances, had been procured by the state in January 2013.
Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis has directed MSRDC to execute the project on engineering-procurement-construction (EPC) model.
"In an EPC model, all the rights will be given to MSRDC, which will appoint a contractor to only build the sea link. The agency will appoint separate contractors for toll collection and for repair and maintenance," said a PWD official.
This means, motorists will have to pay another toll for the 9.6-km long BVSL. The existing prevailing toll rates shall apply to BVSL and the concession period will be up to 2052.
"However, the toll collection contract will be renewed every three years," explained the official. Unlike the Bandra-Worli Sea Link, the agreement for this project will have suspension rights clause as per the government policy.
The GR stated that taking into account the increase of vehicular traffic due to the proposed coastal road and BVSL on real-time basis, the recalculation of the concession period should be done 10 years after the sea bridge's commercial use starts. Also, if there is any change in the toll tax policy in future, the concession period will be revived as per the toll tax policy prevailing then.
"MSRDC will follow proper procedure and raise funds for the project either through loans from financial institutions or by raising bonds," said the official. The government has also allowed MSRDC to set up a special purpose vehicle to raise loan for which it has approved 2% interest rate.