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NEW DELHI : The National Capital Region Transport Corporation (NCRTC) has awarded a contract to a Chinese company, Shanghai Tunnel Engineering Company Limited, for the construction of a 5.6-kilometre underground stretch, from New Ashok Nagar to Sahibabad, of the Delhi-Meerut RRTS project.

The NCRTC, which is executing the country's first Regional Rapid Rail Transit System (RRTS), said the contract was awarded following the set procedure and guidelines.

"Approvals have to be taken at various levels for bids that are funded by multilateral agencies. This bid was also awarded following the set procedure and guidelines.

"Now, all the civil work tenders of the 82-km-long Delhi-Ghaziabad-Meerut corridor have been awarded and the construction is going on in full swing to commission the project in time," an NCRTC spokesperson said.

A controversy had erupted in June last year after the STEC emerged as the lowest bidder for the construction of the 5.6-km tunnel on one of the stretches of the Delhi-Meerut RRTS project amid a standoff between India and China along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh.

The 82-km-long Delhi-Ghaziabad-Meerut RRTS corridor is being funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and procurement is governed by the guidelines of the bank and the government.

According to the ADB's procurement guidelines, vendors from all member countries of the bank are eligible to participate in the bidding process without any discrimination.

The NCRTC had invited bids for the construction of the tunnel from New Ashok Nagar to Sahibabad of Delhi Ghaziabad Meerut RRTS corridor on November 9, 2019.

Five companies submitted technical bids and all the five bidders qualified in the technical bid evaluation.

The financial bids were opened after obtaining the NOC on Technical Bid Evaluation from the ADB. Of the five firms, Shanghai Tunnel Engineering Company Limited emerged as the L1 bidder for the tender after qualifying on all the parameters and the contract was awarded to it.

In September last year, the Union housing and urban affairs ministry had unveiled the first look of the RRTS train, the design of which is inspired by Delhi's iconic Lotus Temple. It can attain a top speed of 180 kilometres per hour on the Delhi-Ghaziabad-Meerut corridor.

According to the ministry, with a radiating stainless steel outer body, the aerodynamic RRTS trains will be lightweight and fully air-conditioned.

The Delhi-Ghaziabad-Meerut corridor is the first RRTS corridor being implemented in the country. The time to commute from Delhi to Meerut will be reduced to less than an hour from the current three-four hours by road, officials said.

The prototype is scheduled to roll off the production line in 2022 and will be put into public use after extensive trials.

The 17-km priority corridor of the Delhi-Meerut RRTS from Sahibabad to Duhai will be operational in 2023 and the entire corridor will be operational in 2025.

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