Chinese firms dominate race to build India’s longest metro

Chinese firms dominate the list of nine consortia selected as eligible to bid for the job of building India’s longest stretch of metro, the Colaba-Bandra-Seepz line in Mumbai.

Two Russian firms are also in the race to build the $4bn scheme, said to be the Indian city’s biggest ever infrastructure project.

A year after starting the tendering process, the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC) last week finalised a list of nine consortia eligible for bidding. Five of these feature major Chinese state-owned corporations, including China Railway 25th Bureau Group, China Railway Engineering Group, Shanghai Tunnel Engineering Company, and more.

The news comes as Chinese President Xi Jinping arrives this week in India, and is expected to offer up to $300bn in investments for rail and other infrastructure to India’s new Prime Minister, Narendra Modi.

Russia’s metro-builder Moscow Metrostroy has teamed up with India’s Hindustan Construction Company, while another Russian firm, Kyivmetrobud, will bid with India’s AFCONS Infrastructure Ltd.

When complete in 2021, the line will have 27 stations stretching from Colaba in the south of Mumbai to the SEEPZ special economic zone in the north. (SEEPZ stands for the Santacruz Electronics Export Processing Zone.)

By then it is expected to ease traffic in Mumbai by carrying nearly 1.4 million passengers daily. The new line is funded 57% by a loan from Japan’s overseas development organisation, JICA.

In August Japan pledged $35bn in investment for Indian infrastructure.

The nine consortia declared eligible are:

  • AFCONS Infrastructure Ltd-Kyivmetrobud
  • CEC-ITD Cementation India-Tata Projects Ltd,
  • IL&FS Engineering and Construction-China Railway 25th Bureau Group
  • J Kumar Infraprojects-China Railway Engineering Group Co
  • Larsen & Toubro-Shanghai Tunnel Engineering Company
  • OSJC Moscow Metrostroy-Hindustan Construction Company
  • Pratibha Industries-Guandong Yuantian Engineering
  • Unity Infraprojects Ltd-IVRCL Ltd-China Railway Tunnel Group

Photograph: An aerial view of Mumbai (Aam422/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain)

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