The joint venture between Larsen & Toubro and Japan’s IHI Corporation, as well as the Tata Projects and South Korea’s Daewoo Engineering and Construction JV, have emerged as the lowest bidders for two construction packages for the Rs 17,750-crore Mumbai Trans Harbour Link (MTHL) project. The first and second packages are both for the portion of the sea link that will be over the water.
Both the bids are about 15% higher than the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority’s (MMRDA) estimated cost. MMRDA is the nodal authority for the MTHL project. The bid for the third and final package is expected to be opened soon. Sanjay Khandare, additional metropolitan commissioner, MMRDA, said the final approval for the third package is pending with the funding agency for the project, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). “If the approval comes today, we will open the bid tomorrow,” he told FE. As many as 30 companies had expressed their interest to construct the bridge in the initial stages of bidding.
IL&FS Transportation Networks and IL&FS Engineering were among those disqualified from bidding, along with many Chinese companies, by the home ministry. IL&FS had taken MMRDA to the high court over the issue. However, ITNL MD K Ramchand told FE that the company is now withdrawing its petition, since the issue is of security clearance and directly involves the central government.
The 22-km MTHL is envisaged to provide direct access to the proposed Navi Mumbai International Airport from the Mumbai mainland, and also provide a convenient gateway to the Mumbai-Pune expressway.
The MTHL project was first conceived as a part of the Tata committee reports when the idea of Navi Mumbai as a satellite node to Mumbai was proposed about four decades ago. The MTHL bridge was proposed as an easy connectivity option between the two cities. However, the project failed to take off over the years due to various reasons. It is now directly under the Maharashtra chief minister’s so-called War Room, which is overseeing a slew of mega infrastructure projects across the state and monitoring their timely implementation.