Mumbai: The work on the much touted Colaba-Seepz underground metro line is likely to commence before March 2016-end.

Mumbai Metro
Mumbai Metro

"We have already completed the initial process for the project. We are currently in the final stages of selecting the bidder. We expect the pre-construction work on the project to commence before March 2016 and will be completed by 2020," Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC) Managing Director Ashwini Bhide, told reporters here today.

She said MMRC has already shortlisted nine consortia for the over Rs 23,000-crore, 33-km underground rail link, which will now go through the second round of bidding.

"Since the project will be developed in seven packages and is the first of its kind in the city, we have to go through a long process of selecting the final bidders.

Currently, we have shortlisted nine bidders. We expect the selection process to be completed over the next 6-7 months," she said.

Bhoomipujan for the project was carried out in August last year at Marol in the northern suburb of the city.

Talking about fares for the metro, Bhide said it will be determined on the lines of the fares fixed by the DMRC, indexed at 7.5 per cent and would be revised every second year.

The MMRC has fixed fares between Rs 11 and Rs 37 for the proposed corridor.  "The initial fares would be fixed on lines of those charged by DMRC. Later, it will be determined by the fare fixation committee," she said.

On the funding for the Rs 23,136 crore project, Bhide said that the Japanese funding agency JICA would be providing a soft loan to the extent of Rs 13,235 crore in tranches.

Apart from state and Central governments' support for the project through equity, the company is also expecting Rs 1,000 crore from property development along the alignment of the metro, which would be used for funding the project.

Last September, MMRC had shortlisted nine consortia in the pre-qualification bids, whereas five were disqualified from the 33-km-long underground project.

Afocons Infrastructure-Kyivmetrobud, Continental Engineering Corporation-ITD Cementation India-Tata Projects, Dogus-Soma, IL&FS Engineering and Construction-China Railway 25th Bureau Group, J Kumar Infraprojects-China Railway 3 Engineering Group, L&T-Shanghai Tunnel Engineering, Moscow Metrostroy-HCC, Pratibha Industries-Guandong Tuantian Engineering Unity Infraprojects, and IVRCL-China Railway Tunnel Group, are the selected bidders.

The project will connect Cuffe Parade, Nariman Point, Fort, Girgaum, Mahalaxmi, Worli, Bandra-Kurla Complex, airport and SEEPZ. Construction work on the car depot planned at Aarey Colony will commence in September.

It will have passenger interchange facilities with Central Railway at CST, Western Railway at Churchgate, Mumbai Central and Mahalaxmi, Metro Line 1 at Marol Naka, Metro Line 2 at Bandra-Kurla Complex, and Monorail at Mahalaxmi; all facilities are being designed to provide seamless travel.