Thursday, November 19, 2009

Metro to be on schedule

Metro to be on schedule

Anil Kumar Sastry
This despite six-month delay in awarding contracts
The schedule to complete the work has been revised to September 2012

BMRCL talking to Taiwanese-led joint consortium

BANGALORE: Despite a crucial six-month delay in awarding the contract for the underground tunnels and seven underground stations of Namma Metro, the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd., (BMRCL) insists that the project will be completed on schedule.

The contract was to be awarded in July this year and the metro was scheduled to start its services by September 2012. Now that the contract has been delayed, there are doubts whether the project will be completed on time.

M. Ramachandran, Chairman, Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd., (BMRCL), told The Hindu: “There could be a slight delay. But we can always compress the time taken to complete the project.”

He attributed the delay to BMRCL’s “due diligence” in finalising the financial bid.

“The cost (quoted by the lowest bidder) was higher than the estimated tender cost and hence we are renegotiating the deal. We cannot compromise on the cost.”

He said at least 36 months were required for completing the underground stretch from the time the contract was awarded.

Elevated stretches first
He was confident that the contract would be finalised during BMRCL’s next board meeting in New Delhi on Thursday. BMRCL was focussing on speedy completion of elevated stretches of the Namma Metro corridor.

Technical bids for the underground section were finalised in September 2008 and seven consortiums/ joint ventures were short-listed to submit the financial bid. Among these, the financial bid of a joint venture comprising Continental Engineering Corporation (Taiwan) as the leader, Soma Enterprises Ltd., (India) and CEC International Corporation India Pvt., Ltd., was the lowest, BMRCL sources said.

These bids were evaluated by the Japan International Cooperation Agency that had been providing partial loan assistance for the project and the Union Ministry of Finance. The contract, estimated to cost Rs. 2,400 crore, was to have been awarded in July 2009.

However, it had not been signed until now as even the lowest bid was higher than the estimated cost. BMRCL officials were negotiating with the Taiwanese-led joint venture to bring it down.

The original deadline for awarding the contract had been April 2008 and August 2010 for completing the civil works.

The deadline for completion was revised to June 2012 and later to September 2012.

Seven stations
The underground stretches between M. Chinnaswamy Cricket Stadium and Magadi Road on the east-west Corridor and between Seshadripuram and City Market on the north-south corridor, totally measuring 8.7 km, will have seven underground stations, including two at Majestic. The stations — Cricket Stadium, Vidhana Soudha, Central College, Majestic (two) and City Railway Station in the east-west corridor and Chickpet and K.R. Market in north-south corridor would be built under cut-and-cover method whereas the tunnels would be constructed using tunnel boring machines.

BMRCL is in the process of laying an alternative road in front of the Vidhana Soudha for an underground station there even as it awaits the High Court’s clearance to lay an alternative road inside Cubbon Park for the Cricket Stadium underground station.

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