MTHL update

The tug-of-war between Maharashtra’s two infrastructure agencies over the ambitious Mumbai Trans Harbour Link (MTHL), a 21 km Nhava-Sewri sea link, may benefit commuters. The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) and the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) will present their respective plans to state honchos and the agency that offers the lower toll and metro tariff may eventually bag the project. While the MMRDA presented its plan to chief minister Prithviraj Chavan on Tuesday, the MSRDC will submit their unique model to both the CM and deputy CM Ajit Pawar on Wednesday. The MSRDC is headed by NCP minister Jaidutta Kshirsagar and the MMRDA by Chavan, thus adding a political twist to the competition. After the MSRDC’s presentation, the Congress and NCP leaders are likely to take the final call. The MSRDC’s has proposed a toll of Rs 205 for a one-way journey. The plan outlines a unique double-decker structure which will have the road above and the Metro running below. It has pegged the cost of the project at Rs 8000 crore and a toll recovery period of 45-50 years. It has also proposed a 15% increase in toll tax every year. The MMRDA, on the other hand, has said it will build the bridge—with six lanes for vehicles and two for the Metro—at the cost of Rs 8,311 crore and will take 45 years to recover the money through toll collections. The MMRDA has priced the toll between Rs 105 –Rs 210. However, it wants to commercially develop the land on both sides of the link and use the earnings for the MTHL project.

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