Mumbai-Ahmedabad Bullet Train: The National High-Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHSRCL) is preparing to float the civil works contract for India's first bullet train project, connecting Mumbai to Ahmedabad. It is likely to be the biggest ever civil works contract in the country, the value of which is estimated to be in the range of five figures of crores of rupees, according to an IE report. The civil works contract, which will be given out to a single entity, is slated to be floated by next month. The decks are being cleared for this contract on war footing. Achal Khare, Managing Director of the NHSRCL was quoted in the report saying that the corporation will be floating this tender soon. The job for civil works will include construction of the over 200 km long viaduct for the high-speed corridor in Gujarat along with all the installations that come with it, including four stations Surat, Valsad, Vapi, and Billimora. However, the setting up of the high-speed track on the viaduct will be done under a separate contract that will come later. While it is difficult to estimate the cost before a tender is opened, the officials estimate it will be in the range of Rs 15,000 crore to 20,000 crore for the whole work, going by the benchmark pricing of civil works involved. As per the agreement with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), which is the funding agency, only Indian and Japanese construction companies are qualified to apply. However, unlike the Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC) project, the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project is free to give the civil works tender to Indian companies even without any tie-up with Japanese firms. As per terms negotiated between India and Japan, civil works is the domain of Indian companies that may or may not engage any Japanese company. Viaduct for high-speed operations has never been developed in India. Railway officials stated that as per specifications, they are heavier than the viaduct erected for Indian Railways. According to them, irrespective of which company bags the tender, a contract of this magnitude will surely energize India's civil construction sector. It is being expected that the bullet train project will require around 58 lakh tonne of cement. The stations included in the contract are also large standalone projects each with a unique design reflecting the local culture along with the development of circulating areas, commercial areas, parking areas etc. Moreover, there is also a maintenance depot between Valsad and Vapi, which is a part of the civil works contract. The time taken to award the civil works contract is likely to be around eight months, including pre-bid conference as well as completing all processes. The tender will be a "two packet" where qualification, as well as the financial quote, are separate, the report said. The Mumbai-Ahmedabad Bullet Train corridor, which is the country's first such project, will be 508 km long. The project work is likely to get over between 2022 and 2023.