REL leads in Mumbai MRTS joust
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REL leads in Mumbai MRTS joust

IL&FS is the other bidder for Rs 3,000 cr project; L&T consortium pulls out

india Updated: Jan 17, 2006 01:26 IST

The first visible signs that the National Urban Renewal Mission juggernaut is finally moving came on Monday when Reliance Energy led the bids to develop the megalopolis’ mass rapid transit system.

Using the famous public-private partnership model, bids were thrown open and Reliance Energy, in a consortium with Connex of France, a subsidiary of infrastructure group Veolia, and Hongkong MRT, is believed to be leading the fray with a bid of Rs 1,251 crore. This was the lowest bid on the viability gap funding parameter. Of the technically qualified bidders, the Siemens-L&T-Gammon consortium did not put in its bid.

Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) chairman T. Chandrasekhar is likely to call for a board meeting later this week to ratify the process.

The only other bidder was the I L&FS consortium which is reportedly second with a Rs 1,626 crore viability gap funding bid. The viability gap funding will be through a positive grant given jointly by the Government of Maharashtra and Government of India. The Rs 2,500 crore-Rs 3,000 crore project entails developing a 11.43 km overground MRTS between the western suburbs of Versova, Andheri and Ghatkopar.

Further, there is a branch line of 1.265 km to Sahar airport and a car depot line of 0.45 km. All told, the project is reportedly over nearly 100 kms of Mumbai. The first phase of the project is expected to be completed over three years, depending entirely on various clearances like right of way and access way. MRT stations on this route will be in Versova, D.N. Nagar, Azad Nagar, Andheri, Chakala, Airport Road, Marol Naka, Sakinaka, Subhash Nagar, Asalpha Road, Ghatkopar and Sahar Airport.

The long-pending project, which dates back to at least five years, had been held up due to several imponderables like funding requirements, composite technology skill sets, a catalogue of difficult clearances and, of course, most importantly eco-socio-political considerations which are part of Mumbai's lifeforce.

It is believed that the Ambanis had first thought of creating a railway infrastructure to connect the uniquely positioned Bandra Kurla Complex which is not connected by the city's sprawling suburban rail network. Incidentally, the central, western and Harbour lines do not feed BKC even today. BKC has become parallel business district of the city with several high-profile offices.

The Reliance Energy-led consortium is 100 per cent owned by Reliance Energy and both Connex and HK MRT will act as technical consultants. This will be a 100 per cent SPV owned by Reliance Energy. However, the entity which will execute the project will be 74 per cent owned by Reliance Energy and the balance 26 per cent will vest with MMRDA.

The project is proposed to be implemented on a BOOT basis through the PPP model. The GoM’s necessary approvals have been obtained. There is a possibility of relaxing the normal concession period of 25 years and extend it to 35 years (including a maximum of five-year construction period.)

A preliminary screening of environment and social impacts of the proposed MRTS was carried out including environment legislations, ambient air quality, noise level, water bodies, ecology, heritage and aesthetic issues and sensitive receptors along the alignment. The detailed EIA study will be carried out in due course. MMRDA has stated that all necessary measures would be adopted to protect the environment along the corridor. Rail-based MRT system with electric traction is eco-friendly by design.

First Published: Jan 17, 2006 01:26 IST