Four groups shortlisted for Gujarat-Maharashtra rail link

Four groups of firms have been short-listed to bid for a 320km rail link between Vadodara in Gujarat and Vaitarna in Maharashtra, the Dedicated Freight Corridor Corp. of India Ltd said on Thursday. The contract is estimated to be worth about Rs.3,200 crore.

All the four groups have Japanese companies as lead partners, a company spokesman said, fulfilling a condition laid down by the Japan International Cooperation Agency, which will fund the project. The bids for designing and constructing the stretch are expected to be sought in a month’s time.

The consortia include Larsen and Toubro Ltd and Sojitz Corp.; Fujita and IVRCL Ltd; IRCON International Ltd and Mitsui and Co. Ltd; and Marubeni Corp., Tata Projects Ltd, KEC International Ltd, Gammon India Ltd and GMR Infrastructure Ltd.

India is building 2,700km of railway tracks that will only carry goods, and connect the main metros of New Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata. It will reduce the transit time between New Delhi and Mumbai to 36 hours from the current 60.

Earlier this month, 24 groups submitted their applications for pre-qualification for a 393km rail route of the eastern part of the frieght corridor from Kanpur to Mughalsarai in Uttar Pradesh, said the spokesman cited above, a project estimated to be worth Rs.4,000 crore. “The companies will be shortlisted for the project after the clearance from World Bank, which is expected within 30-45 days.”

The firm has awarded two big construction contracts in the first six months of 2013. In June, it picked a consortium of Larsen and Toubro and Sojitz Corp. to design and build 640km of twin tracks that will connect Rewari in Haryana and Palanpur in Gujarat worth Rs 6,700 crore. In January, a joint venture of Tata Projects and Aldesa Construcciones SA of Spain won a contract to construct the Rs3,300 crore, 343km double-track line between Khurja and Kanpur, both in Uttar Pradesh.

“The pick-up in the pace of awarding contracts is a positive. Given the state of the economy, these cash contracts are good to keep the project execution cycle going,” said Manish Agarwal, executive director, infrastructure advisory at PricewaterhouseCoopers India, a consultancy. “This will also provide momentum to the construction industry which is otherwise seeing a significant slowdown in the order books.”