The state government has decided to make a fresh bid for appointment of contractors for building the Rs 46,000-crore Nagpur-Mumbai Super Communication Expressway. The 701-kilometre road project is touted as Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis pet infrastructure project. On Thursday, the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC), which has been appointed to plan, construct, operate and manage the expressway, issued a fresh Request for Qualification (RFQ) document, the third one it has issued for project since January 2 this year.
The agency has decided to do away with the pre-qualification criteria of prior experiences of building “access controlled” expressways, freeways, motorways, and autobahns for the latest call of the RFQ.
The earlier RFQ, floated on March 19, had incorporated this condition. But two leading construction industry bodies in the country — the National Highway Builders Federation (NHBF) and the Construction Federation of India (CFI) — had raised allegations over this condition.
A pre-bid conference held on April 17 had also seen a large number of queries and objections raised in this regard.
While the MSRDC received a total of 27 bids in response to the March 19 bid document, only three applicants — PNC Infratech Limited, Afcons Infrastructure Ltd, and a joint venture involving the Nagarjuna Construction Company and Megha Engineering and Infrastructure Limited — have been found to be “responsive, and technical and finanically qualified, while seven others — including Larsen and Toubro, Reliance Infrastructure Limited (in a joint venture), Tata Projects Limited (JV), ILFS Transport Network Limited (JV) — were found “provisionally qualified subject to satisfactory clarification”. Two Chinese firms — the China Guangdong Provincial Changda Highway Engineering Co. Ltd (JV) and the China Construction Fifth Engineering Division Corporation Ltd — also figure in the list of provisional qualificants.
MSRDC’s Joint Managing Director Kiran Kurundkar said, “To ensure healthier competition, it was felt necessary to have larger number of qualified applicants. So we are inviting a fresh RFQ with minor modifications for the preparation of the supplementary shortlist.”
The three responsive firms have already qualified, while the remaining seven have been asked to submit clarification before June 29. Kurundkar said the final shortlist will also include those found responsive in the new RFQ.
The agency will persist with the condition for disqualification of those under the Corporate Debt Restructuring (CDR) or Strategic Debt Restructuring (SDR) in the fresh document too. The tender process will be stretched
further on account of the latest move, admitted sources.