Four months after Japan warned of Mumbai Metro 3 delay, Maharashtra yet to give approval – ET RealEstate

MUMBAI: The delayed, underground Mumbai Metro 3 project from Cuffe Parade to Seepz is now staring at a major cash crunch. The reason—the indecisiveness of the state government.

On February 17, 2021, Japanese ambassador to India, Suzuki Satoshi, wrote to chief minister Uddhav Thackeray, expressing fears of an impending “cash crunch” and “significant delay or stagnation” for the project.

Satoshi’s letter, accessed by TOI, requested the CM to approve the revised project cost for the fourth tranche of the loan so that the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), which is funding the metro, can release the money.

“…your approval… is required as soon as possible, at the latest by the end of this week, to avoid shortage of cash in the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (MMRCL),” it said.

TOI has learnt that four months later, the state government has failed to give its approval even as the project cost has escalated from Rs 23,136 crore to Rs 33,406 crore.

The chief minister’s office refused to comment, but a senior state official told TOI any decision is unlikely to be taken by the state government till the issue of the Metro 3 car shed is resolved in the high court. A MMRCL spokesperson too chose not to comment.
Four months after Japan warned of Mumbai Metro 3 delay, Maharashtra yet to give approvalLast December, Bombay high court stayed the suburban collector’s decision to hand over the Kanjurmarg plot for the car shed. “Since then, there has been virtually no initiative on the part of state agencies to vacate the stay,” said government sources.

Since 2013, JICA has disbursed roughly Rs 13,425 crore in three tranches for the Metro 3 project. “The JICA’s last tranche of Rs 2,800 crore disbursed in 2018 will run out by December,” highly placed sources told this newspaper. “The Japanese agency has agreed to disburse an additional Rs 6,500 crore, but it is awaiting the state’s approval for it,” they said.

The protocol is that the state must first approve the cost escalation proposal and convey its decision to the union ministry of housing and urban affairs. Once the Centre clears it, JICA disburses the loan.

The delay in the completion of the underground Metro has both financial and social implications for a city that is in desperate need of better infrastructure for public transport. The north-south line will provide commuters an alternative to crowded local trains and take a huge chunk of traffic off the roads. The state must find a way to end the legal impasse over the Kanjurmarg land and get the last mile of the project expedited.Times View

The Japanese ambassador’s letter dated February 17 to the CM says the fourth tranche will have no bearing on the construction of the Metro 3 depot. “…your approving the fourth tranche will not affect the decision on the location of the depot,” it said.

“JICA stands ready to consider another loan to support the construction of the depot when the issue of its location is resolved,” said the letter.

A two-page annex note attached to the ambassador’s letter said the approval of the revision of the total project cost reflecting actual fund requirements is “indispensable” for MMRCL.
Four months after Japan warned of Mumbai Metro 3 delay, Maharashtra yet to give approval“During JICA’s detailed fact finding mission with MMRCL, conducted from December 2020 to January 2021, it was recognized that there is a real possibility for MMRCL to face fund shortage within the next fiscal year (FY2021) if additional loan cannot be provided by end of this fiscal (FY2020),” it said.

“As a financer of this project, the government of Japan and JICA are strongly concerned that the project would potentially face serious difficulties such as significant delays or stagnation, unless the loan is extended in a timely manner,” said the ambassador’s annex note.

MMRCL, the project implementing authority for the 33.5 km Metro 3 line, has already spent Rs 18,000 crore on the project. About 70% of the work including 95% of tunneling is complete. Though the metro car shed comprises barely 4% of the work, the project cannot be commissioned without it.

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About 3.23 lakh homes under rural scheme ready: Maharashtra CM – ET RealEstate

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MUMBAI: Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Tuesday said 15 lakh people had benefited from 3.23 lakh homes built since November last year as part of a state rural development department scheme.

Speaking at the virtual inauguration of Maha Aawas Abhiyan-Rural, Thackeray said the state rural development department had set a target of constructing 8 lakh houses in 100 days, and 3.23 lakh of these have already been built, while the rest would come up in a month’s time.

He said self help groups in rural areas had also benefited from the scheme as the construction material was procured from the ‘Gharkul Mart’ promoted by SHGs.

The construction of the houses started on November 20 last year, and beneficiaries include the landless, construction workers etc, the CM added.

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Mumbai: Kanjurmarg plot for metro may cost Rs 3,000 crore – ET RealEstate

MUMBAI: Rs 3,356 crore. This is the market value of the controversial 102-acre Kanjurmarg plot which the salt department expects the state to pay if it wants to build an integrated Metro rail car shed on it.

The January 2020 letter of the deputy salt commissioner (Mumbai), which TOI has accessed, pegs the market rate based on the ready reckoner rate of 2019-20.

On Tuesday, chief minister Uddhav Thackeray met Prime Minister Modi to resolve the Centre-state dispute over the Kanjurmarg plot.

In a letter addressed to the salt commissioner in Jaipur, the deputy commissioner said if Rule 17 of the Central policy guidelines (which allow a 15% deduction in the ready reckoner rate) is applied, the market value reduces to Rs 2,852 crore.

The Mumbai Metropolitan Development Authority (MMRDA) had earlier agreed to pay for the land, which it requires to build a car shed for three different Metro lines: 3,4 and 6.

“The land requested by MMRDA falls under Arthur Salt Works. The land was leased for 99 years, which expired on 14/10/2016. The lease has not been renewed thereafter,” said the deputy salt commissioner’s letter.

The lessee, the Garodia family, though, moved court after the lease was terminated by the salt department back in 2004 for alleged violations of lease conditions. “As the lease has already expired, the ex-lessees are not entitled for any compensation. However, as the suit is pending in the court, appropriate decisions regarding compensation may be taken by the competent authority,” said the letter.

There have been multiple claimants on this land.

When the Shiv Sena-led state government decided to shift the Metro 3 car depot from Aarey to Kanjurmarg in late 2019, the Centre immediately intervened and said the land belonged to it and that the state had no claim over it.

Later, the Bombay high court, too, stayed the suburban collector’s decision to hand over the plot to MMRDA for the car shed. Meanwhile, the Garodia family, who claimed control over the land, too moved court to protect its interest.

The Garodias have signed a deal with construction giant Shapoorji Pallonji to develop the Kanjurmarg land for affordable homes.

Early this year, MMRDA filed an application before the high court asking for the land, stating it was willing to give all “benefits and compensation” to which the owner or lessee would be entitled under Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning Act.

“The full value of all interests in the said land will be protected and made available to the rightful claimants,” it said.

A section of the state bureaucracy, though, has questioned MMRDA’s undertaking to pay the market value of the land to the Centre.

When asked about MMRDA’s undertaking, a senior state government official told TOI: “There is no basis for it. If such an undertaking has been given, the state government is neither aware nor has it ratified it.”

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Senior citizens of Lavasa hill station reach out to Maharashtra CM to revive project – ET RealEstate

PUNE: Senior citizens of Lavasa hill station project have written to chief minister Uddhav Thackeray, urging him to revive the scheme.

In their letter, the senior citizens said it has been 34 months since Lavasa approached the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT), but there is no final decision or resolution on who can take over the project. “Why is the state government not taking interest in this project?” asked Suresh Goswami, who approached the CM on behalf of the Lavasa residents.

He had earlier approached the Prime Minister and even Housing affairs ministry. After a complaint was filed under the central public grievance portal, the Centre had directed the state government to look into the issue. However, no action has been taken since then, Goswami said.

In the letter, the residents said the project value has been reduced many fold, yet there is no investor and no intervention from the state government. “Lavasa residents are struggling with incomplete buildings and overall upkeep of the area,” Goswami said.

The residents have also approached the Maharashtra Real Estate Regulatory Authority as well as Economic Offences Wing regarding the project. “There is no single defined authority where a senior citizen in trouble can approach or communicate,” Goswami rued.

In the letter to MahaRERA, the residents stated that Lavasa Corporation registered all the incomplete projects in Dasve, but did not register almost 800 incomplete properties in Mugaon. “These projects are over 10-11 years old, exceed Rs 500 crore in investment and do not include any interest and compensation as per the RERA Act,” stated the residents’ letter to MahaRERA.

“We have been requesting the Lavasa Corporation Limited and the Resolution Professional to get the mandatory permissions, registration and licences as a majority of the buildings are 80-90% complete in Dasve. He said that they collectively within the Lavasa citizens desired to complete the buildings on their own but these requests have not been considered at all. The president of Apex Association of Lavasa Residents and other committee members have also tried to address the issue of Non-Possession holders but so far there is no hope at al”he said.

The copy of the complaint filed to EOW has been forwarded to the Chief Minister too, he added

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