Trans-harbour link: More firms were keen, had sought extension


Besides the consortia that submitted proposals to build the much-delayed Sewri-Nhava Mumbai Trans-Harbour Link (MTHL), three more companies were keen on the project and had requested for more time to prepare and submit the pre-qualification bids. However, Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) decided not to grant them extension as it would have led to further delays and complications in the project.

Reliance Infrastucture, Welspun Infratech and Essar Projects had requested for another extension for the last date — March 19 — to submit proposals for the 22-km MTHL, said an MMRDA official.

"They were asking for about a month more beyond the March 19 deadline as they wanted time to work on their consortium, but we decided against it as we had already given the firms enough time. Also, if other companies were able to work their consortia out in the given time, so could these companies too," the official said.

The other firms that were involved in the pre-bid process but did not submit proposals include Hindustan Construction Company, Simplex Infrastrucutre, Sriram Urban Infrastructure, Sterlite Infraventures and Spain's Dragados, the MMRDA official said.

"Forming consortia could at times be as complicated as forming governments. One reason we chose not to grant another extension is that we didn't want the existing consortia to break away if there's more time," metropolitan commissioner Rahul Asthana said.

The MMRDA also did not want any more delay in the project, which has gone through two failed rounds of tendering when it was being implemented under the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC). In June 2008, bids submitted by the Ambani brothers had been found unrealistic, and ultimately did not work out. The second time, the MSRDC tried to execute the project as a cash contract. Thirteen companies had shown interest, but did not submit bids.

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