Re-tendering of Mumbai THL project likely

Written by Prachi Karnik Pradhan | Mumbai, May 21: | Updated: May 22 2008, 05:42am hrs
The fate of the Rs 6,000-crore, six-lane Mumbai Trans-Harbour Link (MTHL) hangs in the balance. In what could change the dynamics of the project entirely, the Maharashtra government is mulling a re-tendering of the project, as a section of the government and the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) strongly feel that the concession period for toll recovery quoted by the two consortiumsthe Reliance Energy and Reliance Industries were extremely unrealistic.

REL, in association with Hyundai Engineering Company, which had quoted a concession period of nine years and 11 months, had emerged as the lowest bidder, outbidding RIL, which had indicated 75 years as the concession period.

An MSRDC official, who did want to be named, told FE: MSRDC is awaiting a feasibility study report from the three international consultants STUP Consultants, BCEOM Consultants and Jean Muller International Consultants.

The consultants are once again evaluating the feasibility of the proposals submitted by REL and RIL and would soon submit their report whether the project would be financially viable or not. Based on the recommendations of the consultants, the Maharashtra government will take a final call on a re-tendering of the project, he added.

He said the MTHL project is based on the build, own, operate & transfer model where the company bagging the contract will handle the project on its own, without the government or any of its subsidiaries contributing financially. The 22-km MTHL bridge, on completion, would be the second longest bridge in the world after the 36 km Hangzhou bridge in China, the official noted.

MSRDC is yet to issue a letter of intent to Reliance Energy which has now been renamed Reliance Infrastructure. MTHL is a flyover between Sewree in south-central Mumbai and Nhava Sheva in the Raigad district of Maharashtra.

Both RIL and REL declined to comment on the issue.

However, industry sources mentioned that if the state government decides to re-tender the project, it would the first such project to undergo re-tendering in recent times.