Lateral entry of government company worries foreign bidders

Overseas bidders, interested in running the Navi Mumbai Metro have raised concerns over the sanctity of the bidding process after lateral entry was given to another government-owned company that was not part of the formal bidding.

City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO), the builder of Navi Mumbai Metro had floated a tender for choosing an operator for Line-1 of the project in December 2018. Multiple domestic and foreign companies had shown interest but given the high eligibility criteria set, only two foreign companies qualified to make a bid, according to a person close to the development.

Of the two companies, France-based public transport company Keolis made the lowest offer, as per CIDCO’s public relations officer. The other bidder was a joint venture between Transdev and RATP Developpement, called RATP Dev Transdev.

“However, before finalising the bid CIDCO is exploring other options available for O&M (operation and maintenance) like Mumbai Metro Operations Corporation Limited (MMMOCL), which was recently set up by GoM (Government of Maharashtra), for O&M of various metros in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region area,” the CIDCO officer said.

MMMOCL was set up in June 2019 to operate and maintain all metro and monorail corridors in the city and its metropolitan region. It is owned by Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority.

“India is one of the hotspots of metro activity. But the knowhow to operate these metros profitably is not there; there is a skills gap,” said an executive at one of the interested companies asking not to be named as the bidding process is still on.

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