THERE HAS been a 'great response' from bidders for the build-operate-transfer contract to build the first section of the planned Mumbai metro, according to Project Director G R Madan from Mumbai Regional Development Authority.

Madan confirmed on September 5 that technical bids had been received from five consortia for the 14 km Line 2 between Versova, Andheri and Ghatkopar, and said technically-qualified bidders would be invited to submit their financial proposals shortly. The consortia include Siemens working with Gammon India and BEML, Connex with Reliance Energy, a local group led by Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services, Rites with Hindustan Construction, and Malaysian led Sancheti-Lingkaram.

The Maharashtra state government expects the winner to set up a special-purpose company to build and operate the metro, in which MRDA will hold a 26% equity stake. Around 60% of the Rs120bn cost of the first phase is to be funded through debt.

Line 2 with 12 stations is to be built first, as it will be elevated throughout; the rest of the planned 146 km network will include five underground sections totalling 32 km. MRDA expects the metro to be built to 1435mm gauge rather than the 1676mm adopted elsewhere in India.

The line will be operated by six-car trains running at 4min headways. The 38 km Colaba - Charkop Line 1, which will have 10·8 km underground, has been designed for eight-car trainsets and 2min headways. Similar standards are envisaged for the 12·8 km Mahim - Korla - Mankhurd Line 3 which is currently awaiting approval by the state government.