The much-delayed Mumbai Trans Harbour Link (MTHL) is facing another stumbling block as the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) has asked the city’s development authority to raise the height of the Sewri-Nhava link for a short stretch coming in way of the port’s expansion plans.
The JNPT recently asked the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) to build the 22-km MTHL at a height of 51 metres for a span of 300 metres. A height of 51 metres is equivalent to a 17-storey building assuming one storey is three metres in height.
“We will have to negotiate with them as a height of 51 metres is not feasible. It will have a huge impact on the cost; we will have to think about funding and the alignment will need to be reworked a bit,” an MMRDA official working on the project said.
“At the most it would be possible to have a height of 31 metres for that span. That will not have a major impact on the cost. We will convey this to them,” he said, adding that it would not be possible to quantify the impact of increasing the height for a certain span on the cost of the project at the moment.
According to the current plan, the height of the MTHL — which is said to have the longest sea link in the country — is proposed to be 25 metres throughout.
The MTHL, which has been in the planning stages for more than three decades, has been proposed to be built at a cost of Rs 9,630 crore.
Ravi Raja, who is on the board of trustees of the JNPT, said they had cleared a proposal for the port to be expanded in September and had accordingly requested the MMRDA to increase the height of the MTHL.
“One more terminal has been proposed to be built under the expansion plan. Expansion of the port is important because anyway the port is serving at 120 per cent of its capacity.”
The MMRDA plans to call bids for the design and construction of the MTHL on a public-private partnership basis from the five consortia it had shortlisted in May, once it receives a final nod for Central government funding from the finance minister.
The empowered institution of the Union Ministry of Finance had on October 30 decided to recommend the project for Central funding of Rs 1,920 crore, around 20 per cent of the project cost.
MTHL has been through two failed rounds of bidding earlier when it was being executed by the Maharashtra State Road Development CorporationMMRDA, which took over the project in 2011, was to call bids in June. However, the project got further delayed as the Central government’s in-principle nod for funds came only in October
The Bombay Natural History Society asked MMRDA to shift the alignment of the harbour link over concerns that it may harm the mudflats frequented by migratory birds, such as flamingos
MMRDA is yet to secure right of way for the project, with negotiations under way to acquire around 28 hectares of private land in Uran taluk
MTHL also requires approvals for two rail over-bridges from CR