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Toll contract set to make MSRDC richer by Rs2,100 crore

The cabinet’s committee on infrastructure has awarded MEPL the contract to collect toll for a period of not less than 15 years from Mumbai’s five entry points — Mulund, Dahisar, Vashi, LBS Road and Airoli.

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DNA Web Team

Updated: Sep 24, 2010, 12:00 AM IST

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The Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) is all set to get a financial boost in the form of an upfront payment of Rs2,100 crore from Mumbai Entry Point Limited (MEPL).

The cabinet’s committee on infrastructure has awarded MEPL the contract to collect toll for a period of not less than 15 years from Mumbai’s five entry points — Mulund, Dahisar, Vashi, LBS Road and Airoli. As per the project, the winning bidder is to pay an upfront amount to the MSRDC.

Nineteen bidders had bid for the toll securitisation project. Reliance Infrastructure, which was disqualified with its consortium partner Shakti Kumar Sancheti, filed a petition in the Bombay high court (HC) in August 2009 challenging the contract award. There was also a PIL filed by the People’s Action Committee, challenging the decision to separate the Sion-Panvel Highway from securitisation.

After a year-long court battle, both petitions were dismissed by the HC last week. It gave a clean chit to the MSRDC, dismissing the claims made by R-Infra that MEPL was to earn Rs10,000 crore extra out of the contract.

According to sources in the MSRDC, the petition was baseless. “First of all, the Nagpur-based lead partner in R-Infra’s consortium, Shakti Kumar Sancheti, had withdrawn from the bid,” said a senior MSRDC official.

He added, “R-Infra’s claim that it was to earn Rs9,189 crore from its bid quote of 11 years and seven months as against the ‘alleged’ bid amount of Rs19,823 crore quoted by MEPL for a period of 17 years and one month was rejected by the HC, as R-Infra could not prove how MEPL could get the additional Rs10,000 crore.”

According to MEPL managing director Jayant Mhaiskar, the bid quoted by his company was close to Rs9,500 crore, and there was no way the company could have earned Rs10,000 crore extra.

“This was exactly the point our lawyers told the court,” he told DNA.

“The MSRDC’s technical and financial consultants had also approved the amount for approximately 18 years in the calculation.
MSRDC managing director Sonia Sethi said that the chief secretary will give a final decision on the contract award. DNA has access to the answers which state that the finance department is satisfied with the contract award.

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