MP Metro | Three firms in fray for Bhopal and Indore metro rail contracts

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New Delhi: Deutsche Bahn Engineering & Consulting, Aegis India and AYESA are in the fray for consulting contracts for the Bhopal and Indore metro rail systems, according to two people aware of the development. The Bharatiya Janata Party-led Madhya Pradesh (MP) government plans to expedite construction of the projects in the state’s capital and business hub in the backdrop of assembly elections coming up next year. The firms have been shortlisted for general consulting contracts by the Madhya Pradesh Metro Rail Co. Ltd (MPMRCL) set up after the MP government approved its constitution in February 2015. The idea of setting up metro rails in Bhopal and Indore was conceived in 2009.

“The decision on who will get the contract for the project will be taken by September end,” said a senior state government official, requesting anonymity.

The Madhya Pradesh cabinet approved the detailed project reports of the Bhopal and Indore metro rails in December 2016 at a cost of Rs14,485.55 crore.

According to the decision, while MPMRCL would bear 60% of the project cost, the union and the state governments will share 20% each for the projects. “These projects are of great importance to the MP state government,” said a second person, requesting anonymity.

The metro rail network in the country is growing with the mass rapid transit system emerging as one of the best solutions for urban transportation. Even as nine Indian cities currently have a metro network, over two dozen more projects are lined up.

The union government had last month come out with a new metro policy wherein it will approve and aid metro rail projects only if they have private participation and ensure last-mile connectivity for users. Under the new metro rail policy, states will get powers to make rules and regulations and set up permanent fare fixation authorities.

“Private participation, either for complete provision of metro rail or for some unbundled components (like automatic fare collection, operation and maintenance of services etc.), will form an essential requirement for all metro rail projects seeking central financial assistance,” the policy stated.

Metro rail projects are capital intensive and are generally undertaken through financial support of both the central and state governments in the form of equity and grants with the remaining funds raised through multilateral lending agencies. India’s metro rail expansion over the last two decades has, for the most part, been financed through soft loans from Japan.

“There is no need to submit any fresh detailed project report for Bhopal and Indore metros, as our current reports are in accordance with the new Metro Rail Policy announced by the Centre,” said a senior MPMRCL official, who also didn’t want to be named.

Queries emailed to MPMRCL, Deutsche Bahn, Aegis and Ayesa remained unanswered till press time.

Deutsche Bahn Engineering & Consulting has been active in the Indian infrastructure space. Mint reported on 3 April that it was in talks with Indian Port Rail Corp. Ltd (IPRCL) to form a joint venture (JV) to develop rail connectivity for Indian ports.

Earlier this year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said that 50 Indian cities were ready for a metro network.

According to rating agency ICRA, metro rail projects worth Rs2 trillion are likely to come up for bidding in the next five years.

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