MSRDCs decision to dilute the eligibility criteria for toll collection and maintenance of Bandra-Worli sea link and alter the terms of the contract seems to have helped in getting more competition. The agency has received bids from five companies this time.
The last time that MSRDC invited bids for the contract,it received responses from just two firms,of which one did not qualify as per the eligibility criteria,leaving just one bid from the incumbent toll collector Mumbai Entry Point Limited (MEPL). MEPL is owned by Jayant Mhaiskar,brother of Virendra Mhaiskar,the promoter of IRB Infrastructure,and has been collecting toll on the sea link since it was opened to traffic in 2009.
We had made some sweeping changes to the eligibility criteria,which has really helped. Tentatively,companies such as SMS Infrastructure Limited and Konark Infrastructure have bid other than IRB Infrastructure and MEPL. Reliance ADAG is also one of the bidders, a senior MSRDC official said.
We will open the bids on Monday and take about eight days to freeze on the companies that qualify for the contract. We will then invite price bids from the selected bidders and should hopefully be able to select a contractor in a month, he added.
Friday was the last date for the submission of bids. Eight firms initially evinced interest in the contract this time and attended the pre-bid meeting MSRDC had organised.
According to MSRDC officials,the last time the agency tried to put out a bid for toll collection,only four companies attended the pre-bid meeting. Of these,only two submitted bids. While MEPL was the only one to qualify,MSRDC rejected the second bid by Konark Infrastructure because it did not match the eligibility criteria. The agency decided to call for tenders again after reworking the contract and the eligibility criteria.
The contract involves toll collection,operation and maintenance of the sea link for 156 weeks based on a monthly-upfront payment to MSRDC amounting to a total of Rs 265 crore for three years. The previous contract was based on a yearly-upfront payment to MSRDC amounting to Rs 240 crore over three years.
MSRDC made it mandatory for the bidder to have managed toll collection of a 12-lane highway for any one year in the past seven years. The earlier condition was that the bidder should have experience for at least two projects in the past seven years. Similarly,the annual turnover requirement was reduced from Rs 350 crore in any of the last three years to Rs 120 crore,and net worth criterion pared from Rs 80 crore to about Rs 60 crore.