Mumbai: Contracts for a project to build an eight-lane, 22km sea bridge connecting Mumbai to the mainland didn’t receive a single bid on Friday.
The state government had decided last year that Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) will construct the trans-harbour link after a bid by a consortium that included Anil Ambani-controlled Reliance Energy Ltd was rejected in June .
MSRDC called for fresh bids in September to make the sea bridge, to cost an estimated Rs7,500 crore and looking to be ranked the world’s fourth largest. To be financed by Maharashtra Metropolitan Region Development Authority, it will connect Sewri in Mumbai to Nhava in Navi Mumbai.
“We didn’t receive a single bid even though 14 leading constructions companies did express interest in the project,” said MSRDC managing director Satish Gavai.
However, he said this would not stall the project and the agency will again call for bids.
MSRDC had hoped to attract firms after it changed the project format from build-operate-transfer to cash contract, in which the contractor is paid monthly or daily, based on the work completed.
“The real reason why companies stayed away this time was because they demanded that at least 40% of the payments should be done in foreign exchange... But we couldn’t agree to that demand,” said an MSRDC official who didn’t want to be named as he is not authorized to speak with the media.
The bridge has faced several hurdles since the bidding was initiated three years ago.
China has built as many as four sea bridges in the past six years, while India has still not completed its first—the 5.6km Bandra-Worli Sealink. The Rs1,400 crore project, scheduled to be completed in 2003, was slated to open this January but has been pushed to a May deadline.