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One bidder withdraws from MTHL project

In a setback to the ambitious Mumbai Trans Harbour Link (MTHL) project that will be connecting Sewri to Nhava Sheva, one of the five shortlisted firms to develop the project has decided not to participate in the bidding process.

IRB-Hyundai, which was one of the five bidders, have written to MMRDA stating that they are backing off from the bidding process.

IRB Infrastructure had formed the consortium to bid for the Rs 9,630-crore Mumbai TransHarbour Link project.

MTHL
The Mumbai Trans Harbour Link (MTHL) will connect Sewri to Nhava Sheva. Officials say after the 22-km MTHL is completed, Nhava Sheva area will see massive development.

"We have decided not to bid for the project. This decision has been taken mainly owing to the bitter experience we had in one of our toll BOT (build-operate-transfer) projects in Kolhapur where we did not receive the expected support from the government," Virendra Mhaiskar, Chairman and Managing Director, IRB Infrastructure, told reporters on the sidelines of the 15th AGM here today.

A copy of letter sent by IRB to MMRDA which is with MiD DAY states, “We truly appreciate the manner in which the bidding process for the subject project has been carried forward by your good office and the confidence you had instilled in the mind of the builders. Accordingly, we have jointly with our consortium member M/s Hyundai Engineering, spent a huge amount of money, time and efforts for conducting through technical and traffic studies, structured a viable financial model and were almost in a position to put in our bid for the project. However, we deeply regret to inform your good office that we are unable to participate in the bidding process for the subject project and the reason are beyond the boundaries of this project.

“Unfortunately, the experience that we had had in one of the urban infrastructure projects in Maharashtra namely -- Implementation of the Integrated Road Development Program (IRDP) in the city of Kolhapur on built, operate and transfer (BOT) basis -- has shattered our confidence to invest in Urban Infrastructure projects, especially in Maharashtra.”

The public had opposed toll collection on the 50-km 13-road project in Kolhapur, following which the state administration asked the company to stop collecting toll.

IRB Infra later approached the court seeking permission to collect the toll.

"The court has asked the state to provide security at the toll plazas. We expect to start collecting toll in the next two to three weeks," Mhaiskar said. He further said, "as the response of the state on private investments adversely strikes at the very concept of the PPP model, we are unable to commit a bid for the ambitious MTHL."

It should be noted that MMRDA had short listed 5 consortia namely M/s. CINTRA – SOMA –SREI, M/s. Gammon–OHL Concessions–G.S. Engineering, M/s. GMR–L & T Ltd–Samsung, M/s.IRB–Hyundai and M/s.Tata Realty and Infrastructure Limited–Autostrade–Vinci Concessions for MTHL project and the last day for the submission of bids is August 5.

However when questioned on the impact the withdrawn will have on the project, MMRDA Joint Project Director Dilip Kawatkar said , “ I don’t think that it will any impact as there are still; four companies who are in race for the project and we are confident that they will submit their bids on August 5.”

MMRDA MTHL Bridge

MTHL, once constructed, will connect Sewri to Nhava Seva in Navi Mumbai. The link will be 22-km long with a 16.5 km long bridge across Mumbai harbour, and 5.5 km-long viaduct approaches on the Sewri and Nhava Seva sides. The project is being touted as the country’s longest sea bridge.

The cost of the project increased from an estimated Rs 8,800 crore in 2010 to Rs 9,630 crore recently. This sharp rise was attributed to the expenditure involved in connecting the arms on the Sewri side of the MTHL. 

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