A few Japanese companies have shown an interest to build a fully-underground metro corridor from Colaba-Bandra-Seepz, which has so far considered a financially and technically risky project. The Japanese companies assured the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) that they would complete the project within the stipulated time, said sources.
In a meeting with the MMRDA on Monday, Japanese companies Kawasaki, Mitsubishi, Hitachi and Nippon expressed their interest in the project. “These companies gave us a presentation for the project and said they were capable of building the fully-underground corridor within the stipulated time,” said UPS Madan, MMRDA commissioner. A representative of Japan’s external affairs ministry was also present at the meeting.
Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is providing a loan for the construction of the Rs24,500-crore project, and Japanese companies have been emerged as the main contenders for the project. The MMRDA is planning to invite only multinational companies for the construction of the underground metro corridor.
The planning authority’s decision to build this corridor on a cash-contract basis reportedly came after its previous unpleasant experiences with existing metro corridors in the city, which are being developed on a public-private partnership.
Mumbai’s first metro corridor, the Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar, which was supposed to be operational in 2010, has missed its deadline several times and does not seem ready to start before early next year. Construction on the second Charkop-Bandra-Mankhurd metro corridor has not begun, as though the contract was awarded in 2010, there was a clash between the concessionaire and the MMRDA.
MMRDA officials said JICA will provide 56% of the project cost, while the rest of the cost will be borne by the state and central government. The MMRDA has sent a proposal to the public investment board for a final approval.
“We have received a positive response from the public investment board and the final approval to the finance model will be given by this month. This will be later approved by a cabinet committee. We anticipate that an agreement will be signed with the JICA in May this year,” said Madan.