Mumbai Local

Don’t give contract to Moscow firm, Chennai Metro warns MMRC

The Chennai Metro Rail authorities have written to Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC), advising them against awarding the contract for the Mumbai Metro III project to Russian firm Moscow Metrostroy which had allegedly abandoned the project in Chennai in May 2015.

Top MMRC officials said they had taken cognisance of the letter and sought legal opinion, but the consortium consisting Hindustan Construction Company and Moscow Metrostroy has not been disqualified by Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA) which is part funding the Rs 23,000 crore underground metro project connecting Colaba in South Mumbai to SEEPZ in northern Mumbai.

The Colaba-Bandra-SEEPZ Mumbai Metro III project was divided in seven packages and had received bids from nine different consortiums including two Russian companies, and five Chinese companies which partnered with Indian infrastructure companies.

The Moscow Metrostroy-HCC Ltd had emerged as the lowest bidder in the stretch between CST to Mumbai Central. Each of the seven packages comprises of 4 to 5 km-long twin tunnel.

According to officials of Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL), the letter to Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC) was sent some days ago and stated how the contractor deserted the project and the resultants problems they are facing.

“We wanted to warn them before they award the contract to this firm. We have been facing delay in the project because of this contractor. We don’t want them [MMRC] facing a similar situation,” an official said.

Joint venture

Moscow Metrostroy had entered into joint venture with Gammon India for the Chennai Metro Rail project and was awarded a contract for Rs. 1,947 crore for construction of seven underground stations along Anna Salai. But the Russian firm had abandoned the project in May 2015 owing to financial crunch.

Months later, CMRL terminated the contract of Gammon India as they were unhappy with the pace of construction. Gammon India too was debarred by Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) before Chennai Metro Rail awarded the contract to the firm. But sources here said, they had sought legal advice from various quarters before they went ahead with the decision.

Speaking to The Hindu , Ashwini Bhide, managing director of MMRC, said “The consortium is a pre-qualified bidder, and we had already shortlisted the firm in 2013 after which this incident has taken place. We took note of the letter from CMRL, and sought legal opinion. JICA has specific guidelines on who can be debarred from the project, and the agency has allowed their bid.”

Ms Bhide said “These are international companies, and their selection is done on their overall track record. If something happens in one project with one agency, we cannot take cognisance of it because we don’t really know who is responsible. JICA has looked at all the facts, and not debarred them.” Nine different consortiums have bid for the 33 km metro project and are presently being evaluated by MMRC.

Responding to a questionnaire, Hindustan Construction Company Ltd said, “The decision to partner with Moscow Metrostroy (MMS) was taken by HCC given the strong track-record of the Russian company in building over 300km of metro-rails tunnels and several underground stations across Moscow and other parts of world.”

HCC firmed up the consortium with Moscow Metrostroy sometime in September 2013 and its issues with Chennai Metro Rail Corporation began around April-May 2015, it said.

“The Metrostroy issue with Chennai Metro is sub-judice and HCC does not wish to comment on the same. HCC, as a lead member of consortium along with their partners MMS in Mumbai Metro-III, is committed to successful implementation of the project,” the statement said.


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Printable version | Jul 25, 2021 9:50:21 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/news/Don%E2%80%99t-give-contract-to-Moscow-firm-Chennai-Metro-warns-MMRC/article14010924.ece

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