JICA clears loan for MTHL

The decks have been cleared for the official launch of the long-pending sea bridge, the Mumbai Trans Harbour Link (MTHL), by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, with the funding agency, Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA), finally agreeing to grant the loan for the project.
The decision came after the central government agreed to stand as a guarantor for the loan. The matter was pending with the Japanese firm since last year as it was unwilling to give direct loans to the state government or the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA).
After visiting Japan in September last year, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis said the JICA had agreed to fund the project. The agency had assured loans worth Rs.15,000 crore, which amounts to 85% of the Rs.17,750 crore project. Following this, JICA conducted an environment impact assessment and social impact assessment by appointing a consultant, but despite favourable reports, there was no progress in the matter.
Sources said that the JICA appraisal committee was not willing to grant loan to MMRDA, an undertaking of the state, or to the state government. Instead, the firm was insisting to channelise it through central government. The issue was sorted out in a high level meet held in New Delhi on September 30.
The finance ministry agreed to become a guarantor for the project, but MMRDA will have to pay 1.2 per cent of the total loan for the project, that comes to around Rs.200 crore as charges.

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