After a year-long exercise of awarding a fresh contract, the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) last week gave a letter of acceptance to the same company that has been collecting toll on the Bandra-Worli sea link since it was opened in 2009.
The firm, Mumbai Entry Point Limited (MEPL), has quoted Rs 69 crore as the amount to be paid to the corporation for the first year in the three-year contract, an MSRDC official said. Although the amount is lower than MSRDC’s estimate of about Rs 78 crore a year, the corporation decided to go ahead with the contract considering MEPL was the lone bidder both the times that it tried to bid out the contract.
The first time that the MSRDC floated a tender for the contract in December 2012, only two companies — Konark Infrastructure and MEPL — submitted bids, while only the latter qualified. To ensure that the competition is healthier, the corporation decided to bid out the contract again, this time after greatly diluting the eligibility criteria and changing the nature of the contract from a yearly-upfront payment basis to a monthly-upfront one. In the second round, five companies submitted proposals, of which three qualified. However, only MEPL submitted its price bid.
MEPL is owned by Jayant Mhaiskar, the brother of IRB Infrastructure promoter Virendra Mhaiskar.
An MSRDC official said, “The amount is lower than what the MSRDC had expected. However, it is fine as the firm will have to take over the maintenance of the sea link for three years.” According to the contract, the company will have to take over the maintennace of road markings, signage, paint, toll plaza, the sea link exhibition centre on the Bandra side of the structure, and re-carpet the road once, the official said. All this is currently the MSRDC’s responsibility.
The total payment for the second year will be 10 per cent higher than the first; for the third year it will be 20 per cent higher than the base amount, the official said.