After a gap of nearly five months, the stalled tendering process for the Rs 23,126-crore Colaba-Bandra-Seepz Metro gained steam after the newly reconstituted board of the Mumbai Metro Rail Corp (MMRC) approved a list of companies eligible for financial bidding.
Sanjay Sethi, managing director of the MMRC, said, “We sought the approval of the board for pre-qualification of companies for civil work contracts. We expect the contracts to be finalised soon and work to begin by December.”
Sethi added that the corporation at present could not disclose the number of companies shortlisted for financial bidding, as it required the final nod of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), which is providing a loan to fund a majority of the project cost. However, an official, who did not wish to be named said the corporation had shortlisted nine of the total 14 firms that had submitted pre-qualification bids in early March.
Meanwhile, the MMRC has also invited bids for civil and development work worth Rs 129.32 crore at the proposed Metro car depot at Aarey Colony. Sethi said, “The last date to submit bid applications for the car depot work is August 21, so that construction can begin soon.”
The 33.5-km Colaba-Bandra-Seepz Metro will be Mumbai’s second Metro corridor after the Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar Metro and the city’s first fully-underground mass transit route. The Metro, which will have 27 stations, will connect major business districts such as Nariman Point, Bandra Kurla Complex, Andheri MIDC and SEEPZ, besides providing connectivity to the airport.
Authorities had put the tendering process on hold for the Colaba-Bandra-Seepz Metro, awaiting the MMRC’s reconstitution as a joint venture between the Centre and the state from being a fully state government-owned entity. Officials had also deferred a decision on the pre-qualifications, preferring the proposals to be assessed by the new board of the reconstituted MMRC. The creation of a new MMRC as a joint venture, as directed by the Union government, was stuck for the past nine months, awaiting an approval from the chief minister-led Urban Development Department.
With the CM’s approval for the MMRC’s reconstitution last month, the new board of directors met for the first time on Tuesday. The 10-member board consists five directors nominated by the Union government – namely Shankar Agrawal, Secretary of the Union Urban Development Ministry; Chittaranjan Kumar Khaitan, Joint Secretary at the ministry; Jhanjha Tripathy, Joint Secretary and Financial Advisor in the ministry; Anoop Kumar Gupta, Director (electrical) at the Delhi Metro Rail Corp; and Shailenra Kumar, Divisional Railway Manager, Mumbai.
The other directors include state government nominees – Metropolitan Commissioner UPS Madan, Additional Metropolitan Commissioner Sanjay Sethi, Municipal Commissioner Sitaram Kunte and Manu Kumar Srivastava, Principal Secretary at state Urban Development Department. The fifth place is for a technical expert who is yet to be appointed.