MAURITIUS: The Ministry of Public Infrastructure has awarded a partnership of Indian construction company Afcons Infrastructure and CAF a contract to build a 37 km light rail line from the capital Port Louis to Curepipe.

Much of the route, known locally as métro leger, would use the alignment of the standard gauge Mauritius Government Railways’ Midland Line, which closed in 1964. There would be 20 stops, some of which will be designed as hubs for bus feeder services.

Of the 11 companies submitting expressions of interest in April 2013, six were shortlisted, with only Afcons and China State Construction Engineering Co responding to the request for proposals in November. CSCE was subsequently disqualified, as it has been blacklisted by the World Bank.

Afcons and CAF submitted both a base proposal and an alternative proposal, which were assessed by project consultant Singapore Co-operation Enterprise. Its quote was reduced from an initial US$862m to US$786m.

The Indian government is providing a US$600m credit line, with US$200m at 1% interest and US$400m at less than 2%. The remaining US$250m will be raised on the local market. The government has pledged that light rail will be no more expensive to use than buses when it opens in October 2018.