Mumbai : Fearing that a technical glitch in the online system would result in no bids for construction for the Mumbai-Nagpur Expressway, the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) has extended the bidding dates till June 5.

Contractors were unable to submit their bids as an error occurred while processing payment. The entire cost of the expressway project is Rs 46,000 crore for which the deadline is 2019.

Officials said that the payment gateway issue was solved and contractors will be allowed to submit their bids till June 5. A senior official told FPJ that the contractors had to pay a deposit amount to submit their bids through online payment gateway. However, sources in MSRDC told Free Press Journal that the extension was an eyewash to cover the poor response to the tender.

The MSRDC had re-floated tenders after they received no bids in the first call. The authorities had to tweak the conditions of the tenders as it was observed that the previous tenders led to the poor response on the first call. However, the second call with changes in the conditions has seemingly failed to attract potential bidders.

The 706-km Mumbai-Nagpur Expressway is the pet project of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis which will pass through 10 districts. The MSRDC is finding it difficult to fund the project because of which it has asked for a loan from five other government agencies. Facing a major problem to acquire land as several farmers have opposed the project, the state government requires the 10,000 hectares for the expressway.

According to the project, the 706-km expressway will pass through 10 districts for which it will have to compensate landowners. The districts include Washim, Amravati, Jalna, Aurangabad, Buldhana, Nashik, Ahmednagar, and Thane.

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