Mumbai’s first underground metro project – Metro 3 – took a big step toward reality on Tuesday, when the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC) appointed contractors to build tunnels and 26 underground stations.
The consortia are L&T-STEC, HCC-MMS, Dogus-Soma, CEC-ITDCEM-TPL and J Kumar-CRTG. MMRC officials said J Kumar, one of the contractors named in road repairs scam, was eligible for contracts under parameters laid down by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), which is funding 57% of the project with a Rs23,156-crore loan.
MMRC officials said the project will take four to five years to complete. The metro line has been planned in phases, with MMRC planning to launch the Seepz (Aarey Colony) to Bandra route in 2020 and the entire 33.5-km Colaba-Bandra-Seepz line in 2021.
“We have awarded contracts to five consortia for the construction of twin tunnels and 26 underground stations in seven packages. Now, the consortia will prepare designs and start construction by October. Tunneling work will start by early next year,” said SK Gupta, director (projects), MMRC.
MMRC will have to spent Rs4,000 crore more than it had originally estimated, having accepted bidders’ prices. The civil work was originally estimated to cost Rs14,179 crore but this was revised to Rs18,115 crore.
After initial hiccups in 2013-14, MMRC had issued tenders and shortlisted bidders for the project. However, the process collapsed as bidders quoted higher rates than the MMRC’s estimates, which were based on figures from the Delhi metro.
The bidders said the higher rates were due to several unfavourable conditions in Mumbai, such as rocky strata and complex utilities, and because the city needs bigger stations with more entry and exit points than Delhi’s.
Gupta said, “There were 28 differences between conditions in Mumbai and Delhi. We revisited the plans to verify these before accepting the higher rates.”
R Ramana, executive director (planning), MMRC, said, “Due to several changes in the project, we will be revising the detailed project report. After most of the tenders have been issued, we will revise the project cost, probably after two years.” JICA will be informed about the hike, he added.
MMRC has started issuing tenders for other important works such as the procurement of rakes, signaling and electrification.
MMRC officials did not comment on the controversial metro depot proposed
at Aarey Colony, saying the state government was to take a decision.
Environmentalists and political parties have opposed the depot, saying it would damage local biodiversity.