The city’s development authority has invited pre-qualification bids for the much delayed Sewri-Nhava Mumbai Trans Harbour Link. This would be the state government’s fourth attempt at tendering out the project. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has committed to begin construction this year.
The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) has invited Requests for Qualification from prospective bidders for the civil work on a cash contract model in three packages, aiming to simultaneously start work on all three.
Sanjay Khandare, additional metropolitan commissioner at MMRDA, said, “After pre-qualifications, we will shortlist bidders who qualify and invite Requests for Proposals. The entire exercise is expected to take at least six months, and we hope to start work by November this year.”
As per the tender documents, MMRDA intends to appoint contractors by October this year. The authority also hopes to complete construction in 4.5 years.
The state government has been pushing for speedy construction of the harbour link since it will be a crucial connector to the proposed Navi Mumbai International Airport, tendering for which is already underway.
The government has set a deadline of 2019 to commence operations at the airport.
The first package, estimated to cost Rs 6,600 crore, will entail the construction of 10.38 km, starting from Sewri across the Mumbai harbour, of the total 22-km sea link.
The first package will also comprise construction for suitable interchanges at Sewri on the island side for traffic connectivity.
The second package, pegged at Rs 4,900 crore, will involve the construction of 7.81 km of the bridge, while the third package, likely to cost Rs 1,307 crore, is for the construction of a 3.6-km viaduct on the mainland side, including interchanges at a state highway and national highway near Chirle in Navi Mumbai.
The civil construction of the trans harbour link will cost Rs 12,807 crore. Overall, the entire project is expected to cost Rs 17,864 crore, including the cost of land acquisition, debt servicing, installation of surveillance cameras and a command control centre, and certain environment impact mitigation measures.
The MMRDA has tied up with a Japan International Cooperation Agency to provide a loan for 85 percent of the project cost.
The trans harbour link was originally conceived over three decades ago, and has had several attemped starts with failed tendering attempted on a public private partnership model as well as a cash contract model. Authorities also faced ample opposition from several quarters for the project’s likely impact on the environment, especially on Sewri mudflats, where flamingos migrate every year.
“Even now, while all other clearances are in, there is still one case in the National Green Tribunal on a technicality, saying the government should take a more holistic environment clearance instead of just a Coastal Regulation Zone clearance for the project,” said a senior official.