Exclusive: MMRDA Chief on Mumbai Metro’s Mega Expansion Plans

For those living in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region, get set to witness a massive expansion of the Mumbai Metro network. The Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (MMRDA) recently sanctioned Rs 35,400 crores to develop 118 kilometers of new metro lanes. While that is already an ambitious project, the MMDRA is actually hoping to have the new lanes finished by 2019. What’s the strategy? U.P.S. Madan, Metropolitan Commissioner of the MMRDA joins NDTV’s Ankita Sinha in an exclusive chat to discuss just that.

Edited Excerpts Below:

Ankita:What are the areas that the metro network will cover and what kind of investments are we talking about to complete this?
UPS Madan: We have planned for 7 metro corridors; in fact what we had earlier planned for 9 corridors. We have completed one of these and the second one, Metro 3 is going to start very soon. The other 7 corridors have been slightly realigned and it is these 7 which are 118 kms in length, which we are taking up. All of them will be elevated and we want to start work on them soon. The total cost will be roughly around Rs 34,000 crores. That’s about Rs 300 crore per kilometer for an elevated corridor. It may vary a little bit from corridor to corridor, but roughly around Rs 34,000-35,000 crore is what we are likely to spend on this.

Ankita: Which are the corridors that will be constructed first?
UPS Madan: There are two corridors for which we have already updated our DPRs (Detailed Project Report). One is from Dahisar East to Andheri East along the Western-Express highway. Another is from Dahisar West to DN Nagar which will be along the link road. Both these corridors are 18 kilometers in length and will be the first ones to take off. These two corridors are likely to start by the end of the year and the others will start early next year.

Ankita: How are you planning on raising funds for these projects?
UPS Madan: We are looking at multilateral and bilateral sources to raise funds. We have been in talks with JICA (the Japan International Cooperation Agency), the Asian Development Bank, the World Bank and a few other sources. Depending on the corridors being looked at and which bank shows interest in what project, we will engage with them. We also have a few other avenues or resources. For example, we can also raise bonds. We have started the process of getting MMRDA rated through CRISIL, so once we follow that system, this will be another option we can have.

Ankita: How will this be executed? Are you considering getting another partner onboard to execute the project?
UPS Madan: We have planned 7 metro corridors and we want to execute this on EPC basis; which means we will provide our own funds and we will of course take loans from some multilateral or bilateral agencies. So, instead of the PPP model that we adopted for the first metro, all the future metros will be with our own funds. At the moment we are not looking at getting another partner on board. MMRDA will be the implementing agency. We can in fact give one or two projects directly to the DMRC (the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation) on a deposit basis, so that they can do the work on behalf of the MMRDA but the ownership will remain with us.

Ankita: Do you have any fixed timeline in mind for the start and completion of these projects?
UPS Madan: All these projects are likely to start by early next year and we hope to finish it within 3 to 4 years’ time. We should hopefully have all the projects completed by 2019.

Ankita: A lack of permissions due to environmental reasons have delayed metro lines in the past, do you foresee any such problems here?
UPS Madan: Hopefully not. We are trying to make sure that none of the areas, none of the lands that we have identified; either for our car depot or for any other purpose is affected in any manner by any environmental issues. But whenever you start such big projects, there are going to be some issues. I don’t totally overrule it. There can be some minor issues but hopefully there won’t be any major issues which are likely to come up.


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