The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, on Monday, invited bids to set up a desalination plant with a capacity of  200 MLD per day in the western suburbs of the city, according to a PTI report. According to the report, an official said that the civic agency called for bids for the construction of the desalination plant in the Manori area, its operation and maintenance for 20 years.

The official told PTI that although the bids have been invited for setting a 200 MLD capacity plant, it should be “expandable to 400 MLD” and added that the intended firms have one month to submit their bids for the project. The official further said that the project has received all sanctions including approval from the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA). 

“The project has already received the approval of the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA) and all other sanctions are also in place,” the official told PTI.

The official said that the project will be set up on 12 hectares of government land under the control of Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation in Manori. The civic body had previously stated that the plant will require a capital investment of Rs 1,600 crore and Rs 1,920 crore in operational costs for 20 years. 

However, according to a mid-day report, the cost of the city`s first desalination plant rose from Rs 3,500 crore in 2021 to Rs 8,500 crore in 2023. It also stated that the water generated by the plant initially will be supplied to nearby areas of Kandivali and Borivali. An official from the BMC had told mid-day that they had readied the draft and the tender would be floated within a fortnight after it gets approval. 

Reportedly, the estimated construction cost component of the 400 MLD plant increased to Rs 2,066 crore. Besides that the expenses incurred for electricity, maintenance and asset replacement for the next 20 years will be huge. The official had remarked that the electricity charges will be around Rs 3,600 crore and the overall estimated cost for the initial project will go up to Rs 8,500 crore. He also said that the project cost is inclusive of the infrastructure needed to augment the plant`s capacity to 400 MLD. 

If everything goes according to the chalked plan, the work order will be given by next year and the project will likely be set up in four years.

Reportedly, the desalination project at Manori was favoured over the Gargai dam which prevented acing of four lakh trees in Tansa Wildlife Sanctuary. The project, which purportedly was on fast track during the MVA government, was put on the backburner after the change of guard.

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