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Twelve international construction companies, including four Chinese and two Russian firms, have formally expressed interest in building the Rs 46,000-crore Nagpur-Mumbai Super Communication Expressway. The Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation Limited (MSRDC), the nodal agency for building the 701-kilometre road, has received 33 bids in response to the Request for Qualification (RFQ) document issued on March 19.
The BJP government in the state has been promoting the project as Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis’ flagship initiative. With June 5 being the last day for submissions from interested players, Kiran Kurundkar, MSRDC’s joint managing director, confirmed that the agency had received 33 bids. “It is a welcome response. A scrutiny committee is evaluating the responsiveness of the bids submitted,” he said.
The ambitious project’s bidding process had courted some controversy last month, after two leading construction industry bodies in the country, the National Highway Builders Federation (NHBF) and the Construction Federation of India (CFI), had approached the Prime Minister’ s office, complaining that certain provisions in the RFQ were tailored to favour a handful of players. Both had sought the PMO’s intervention.
“The response to the bid document belies allegations that the conditions were framed to favour select companies,” said Kurundkar.
According to the MSRDC, 21 Indian infrastructure and construction companies have entered the fray. The list includes some leading highway contractors including some of those who had raised strong objections to some tender conditions. The Indian companies that have expressed interest include Hindustan Construction Company, Larsen & Toubro, Reliance Infrastructure, Gammon India, Ashoka Buildcon, Gayatri Projects, PNC Infratech Limited, Nagarjuna Construction Company, Simplex Infrastructure, Krishna Mohan Constructions, Oriental Structural Engineers, Afcons Infrastructure, Navayuga Group, Dilip Buildcon Ltd and SEW Infrastructure, among others.
Incidentally, three out of the four Chinese firms — China Gezhouba Group Company Limited, China Construction Fifth Engineering Division Corporation Limited, Guangdong Guanye Highway & Bridge Company Ltd — have entered the race as sole bidders, while the fourth, CGCD Construction, has submitted a bid in joint venture with SEW Infrastructure.
Officials said that SIBMOST OJSC, which has entered into a joint venture with Gayatri project, is from Russia.
Three Turkish firms including Limak Insaat (sole bidder), Makyol and Cengiz Infrastructure (both in JVs), Singapore’s Qingdao Construction Pte Ltd, Italy’s Todini Construzioni Generali Spa (in a JV), Oman’s Galfar Engineering and Contracting SAOG (sole bidder), and a Korean company are also vying for the contract.
The state government has split the road building work into 16 packages, totalling Rs 27,650 crore. Earlier, the industry bodies had raised objections against conditions that qualify only those having experience of building “access controlled” expressways, freeways, motorways, and autobahns worth Rs 500 crore to Rs 1300 crore in the last five years, and disqualification of those under the Corporate Debt Restructuring (CDR) or Strategic Debt Restructuring (SDR). The initial RFQ document issued on January 2, 2017 did not contain these conditions. This was annulled on March 29, when a new RFQ document was published.