In its fourth attempt to get the much-delayed Mumbai Trans Harbour Link (MTHL) project off the ground, the executing agency —Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) — seems to have finally found takers for constructing the marquee project.
Construction work is expected to be awarded by December 2016, a senior MMRDA official confirmed to FE. “The scrutiny of documents submitted in response to our request for qualification (RFQ) are currently going on. This will be completed by the end of this month or by the first week of October, latest,” said the official.
He added that once the companies are shortlisted, they will be asked to submit a request for proposal (RFP) which will be evaluated in November. MMRDA expects to award the construction work for the project by the end of December this year.
Construction is divided into three packages comprising a 10.380-km stretch of bridge across the Mumbai Bay and Sewri interchange, a second stretch of bridge that is 7.807 km-long across Mumbai Bay and Shivaji Nagar interchange, and a 3.613 km-long viaduct, including interchanges at state highways 52 and 54 as well as at national highway 4B near Chirle in Navi Mumbai.
By the time the project is completed and becomes operational, it will take at least five-six years, said the MMRDA official. He said commuters would have to pay a toll for using the bridge. “We have planned that there will be toll. Since we are drawing a loan from JICA, it has to be repaid and we expect commuters will pay for the good facilities,” he said. This goes against the trend in Maharashtra where the government has shut down a number of toll plazas across the state in response to civil protest. In fact, the promise of a toll-free Maharashtra was part of the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance’s joint manifesto for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
With respect to the bidders, industry sources confirmed that Hindustan Construction Company (HCC) and Reliance Infrastructure (jointly with Russian firm Volgomost) had submitted their requests for qualification (RFQs) while Tata Projects (TPL) also confirmed it was in the fray. Other companies that have evinced interest are Larsen & Toubro, China Railway Construction Bridge Engineering Group, IL&FS Engineering, NCC, Gammon, AFCONS Infrastructure and Shapoorji Pallonji & Company. A total of 26 companies are understood to have submitted RFQs either individually or as a part of a consortium.
On account of delays, the cost of the project has escalated from Rs 9,630 crore in 2013 to Rs 17,750 crore at present, an increase of 84%. The project will be funded by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) up to 80% for which MMRDA already has an in-principle approval. The rest will be provided by MMRDA as well as the state government.