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Saurabh Katkurwar, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, July 06, 2013
As the shortlisted bidders have sought more time citing technical difficulties, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) has extended the deadline for submitting bids for the Mumbai Trans-Harbour Link (MTHL) for the second time.

In May 2012, the MMRDA had shortlisted five bidders for the Rs. 9,630-crore project, which will offer faster connectivity to Navi Mumbai, Goa and Pune highways by connecting Sewri to Nhava. Earlier, the interested parties were to submit their bids by May 24, but the deadline was extended to July 5. Now, it has been extended to August 5.

Ashwini Bhide, additional commissioner, MMRDA, said, “We have extended the deadline to August 5, but have made it clear that there won’t be any further extension.”

While the five firms have shown interest in the project, MMRDA officials fear that only one or two might submit bids because of the depreciation of rupee in the past few days.

“Going by recent discussions with the bidders, we expect only one or two to submit bids. Arranging for funds might become difficult for them owing to the fall in the value of rupee,” said a source closed to the development.

UPS Madan, MMRDA commissioner, said, “Depreciation of rupee could be one of the reasons why the firms have sought more time. They have not disclosed any reason.”

After the bids are submitted, the MMRDA will take 1-2 months to evaluate the submitted proposals and award the contract, after which the contractor will take about six months for financial closure.