Mumbai Trans Harbour Link update
Private bidders may have virtually backed out from the Rs 7,600-crore Mumbai Trans Harbour Link (MTHL) project, but there is still a ray of hope for the much-delayed sea-bridge. The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Agency (MMRDA) has agreed to make an initial contribution of Rs 1,000 crore to help the other state agency, Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC), execute the project on its own. Later on, the MMRDA could even scale up its contribution by another Rs 1,500 crore, sources said. The MSRDC is the designated nodal agency for the harbour link that proposes to connect the island city with Navi Mumbai. A top MSRDC official said that the agency had urged the MMRDA to make an initial contribution, so that work on the project could start. “With bidders not interested in the contract, there is no feasible option for MSRDC but to construct the sealink on its own. But, we are cashstrapped and state government could help us out through MMRDA,” said the official. An MMRDA official associated with the project said the agency had agreed to the proposal. Last week, the MSRDC opened bids for the engineering project contract (EPC), but discovered that none of the 13 shortlisted consortia had offered to build the sea-link. MSRDC sources said the companies that had been shortlisted for the financial bid were restrained by several factors, recession being one of them. The MSRDC also plans to consult the MMRDA on the future of bidding process now, sources said. In December, the MSRDC extended the deadline to submit financial bids to February 27 as bidders sought more time in the wake of 26/11 terrorist attack. In fact, the MSRDC had announced that actual work on the project would begin on January 26. But a zero response from the bidders raises question mark over the bidding process itself, the MSRDC admitted.