BMC's ambitious Goregaon-Mulund Link Road project to face further delay; civic body cites 'technical reasons'

One of the Mumbai civic body’s most ambitious infrastructure projects — the Rs 3,800-crore Goregaon-Mulund Link Road (GMLR)— may take longer than expected. Reason: the civic body has cancelled and re-floated the tender for this week, citing technical reasons.

According to the civic officials, the reason for cancelling the tender is the change of the financial year. "We consider annual turn over of the previous year under the request for qualification (RFQ). According to earlier RFQ, the annual turnover of FY 2018-19 was considered. However, the financial year changed technically; we will have to consider the annual turnover of FY 2019-20. Hence, the tender was cancelled on April 20 and a fresh tender was floated on Thursday," said Ashok Mali, assistant Engineer (GMLR). Deadline for submission of bids for the tender floated on Thursday is June 11, 2020.

However, this is not the first time that BMC has made changes to the tender or tender process.

Just last month, the civic body had extended the bid submission dates for the seventh time in the first week of March 2020 for the same tender, to get more bidders for the construction of the twin tunnels for GMLR. The last day of submission was March 18, 2020. The bidding for the construction work started in September 2019. In six months, the bidding dates were extended seven times with potential bidders, including domestic and international tunnel construction firms, asking for more time. And finally, the tender was cancelled.

According to BMC officials, extensions were being given after potential bidders requested more time for completing the tendering process. Furthermore, even BMC wanted more competition to ensure the best quotations at minimal rates. Another reason for delays is the coronavirus outbreak, said a BMC official. “Major tunnelling companies are from China and a few other foreign countries. Owing to the coronavirus scenario across the globe, there are issues like representatives unable to travel or not able to complete the required paper-work and send proposals, amongst others,” said a senior BMC official.

One of BMC's most ambitious projects, the GMLR was first proposed in the 1960s as an east-west connector. Since then, the city has had multiple connectors, but the GMLR did not materialise till date.

As part of the construction of GMLR below the Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP), BMC has proposed a 4.75-km-long tunnel that will run under SGNP. The project’s estimated cost is about Rs 3,800 crore. The reserved forest area affected by the tunnel is 19.43 hectares. The alignment of the proposed GMLR is expected to provide direct connectivity to the eastern and western suburbs surrounding the SGNP. The civic body has already got a clearance from the state forest department for the construction of the tunnel.

The tunnel will run 20 meters below the ground level of the national park up to 200 meters at selected spots. The GMLR is a 14-km-long east-west connector, beginning near the Western Express Highway at Goregaon, and ending near Nahur station in the East. Further, for the GMLR project, the BMC has allocated Rs 300 crore in its upcoming budget for 2020-2021 compared to Rs 100 crore allocated in 2019-2020.As part of the construction of GMLR below the Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP), BMC has proposed a 4.75-km-long tunnel that will run under SGNP. The project’s estimated cost is about Rs 3,800 crore. The reserved forest area affected by the tunnel is 19.43 hectares. The alignment of the proposed GMLR is expected to provide direct connectivity to the eastern and western suburbs surrounding the SGNP. The civic body has already got a clearance from the state forest department for the construction of the tunnel.

The tunnel will run 20 meters below the ground level of the national park up to 200 meters at selected spots. The GMLR is a 14-km-long east-west connector, beginning near the Western Express Highway at Goregaon, and ending near Nahur station in the East. Further, for the GMLR project, the BMC has allocated Rs 300 crore in its upcoming budget for 2020-2021 compared to Rs 100 crore allocated in 2019-2020.

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