MEPL bags rights to collect toll at Mumbai entry points

The Maharashtra government has decided to award the Rs 2,100 crore toll collection contract at the five entry points to Mumbai to a private entity Mumbai Entry Point Ltd, and seek approval of the courts as directed.

Updated: Sep 01, 2010, 17:25 PM IST

Mumbai: The Maharashtra government has
decided to award the Rs 2,100 crore toll collection contract
at the five entry points to Mumbai to a private entity Mumbai
Entry Point Ltd, and seek approval of the courts as directed.

The decision on a recommendation sent by Maharashtra
State Road Development Corporation was taken at a meeting of
the state cabinet`s infrastructure committee last night.

The five entry points to the city are Airoli, Vashi,
Mulund, LBS Marg and Dahisar. The contract also includes
maintenance of 27 major flyovers, five pedestrian subways,
rail-overbridges and one rail-underbridge.

The contract had run into controversy after one of the
bidders, the Anil Ambani-led Reliance Infrastructure, had
approached the Bombay High Court challenging its
disqualification in the technical bid.

Seven bidders had submitted their technical and
financial bids. Of these, GVK, Reliance-Infra (with Sancheti),
Sadbhav Engineering (with PBA) and Sangam India Limited Joint
Venture were disqualified at the technical bids stage while
IL&FS, MEPL and Ashoka Buildcon qualified.

The Bombay High Court had earlier directed the state
authorities to take a decision on the contract and come to it
for approval. The matter came up before the court today and
the hearing was deferred to September 16.

"After hard negotiations with MEPL, we decided to award
the contract to them. Earlier, they had offered to pay Rs
2,100 crore to MSRDC in five years. Now, they will pay Rs
1,700 crore in first year itself," Jaidutt Kshirsagar,
minister for public works (public undertakings) and chairman
of the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation, said.

"We are seeking the Advocate General`s opinion on the
matter," MSRDC`s Vice-Chairman and Managing Director Sonia
Sethi said.

MEPL had quoted a concession period of 16-years and
11-months, R-Infra, on the other hand, had quoted 11-years and
three months, for collecting the toll.

"When the financial bids were opened, MEPL had emerged
as the preferred bidder offering the lowest concession period
for toll collection as compared to the other two qualified
bidders," MEPL`s Chairman Jayant Mhaiskar said.

Mhaiskar said that the Court`s order would not have an
impact on the signing of the contract between MEPL and MSRDC
as there was no stay order on the matter.

"Since there is no stay order on the procedure of
awarding the contract, we feel that the signing of the
contract can be done soon. However, the state will be
consulting its legal department for guidance on going ahead
with the procedure," he said.

It has been decided that MEPL would make an initial
payment of Rs 1,710-crore and pay the remaining amount in two
equal instalments.

MEPL had recently been awarded the Rs 34.20-crore
contract for collecting toll on the Bandra-Worli Sea Link for
26-weeks. After this period, R-Infra would be collecting the
toll and maintaining the bridge.

PTI