Several Chinese companies have shown keen interest in executing big-ticket infrastructure projects in the state.
Mumbai: If all goes well, Chinese firms may bid for chief minister Devendra Fadnavis’s pet projects – the Napur-Mumbai super expressway and the Bandra-Versova sealink, subject to getting security clearances from the home ministry and intelligence agencies.
In the past, several Chinese companies have shown keen interest in executing big-ticket infrastructure projects in the state, but the Central government has been wary of them. Some Chinese firms have requested the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) to first seek security clearance from the required departments in the Central government to avoid ‘disappointments’ like the ones in the past.
In a meeting held on Thursday with MSRDC officials, Chinese companies said they were serious about bidding for the construction of the Bandra-Versova sealink project and the Nagpur-Mumbai super expressway. A Chinese firm, which had backed out of the consortium involved in the construction of the Bandra-Worli sealink, informed the MSRDC that they were keen but had to back out due to ‘security clearances’ and certain reservations of the Central government.
Owing to the sour political relations between India and China, companies or groups having Chinese connections are barred from bidding for building Indian port projects citing security concerns. The MSRDC, however, has assured the companies that it would seek security clearances from the Central government for potential Chinese bidders.
Radheshyam Mopalwar, managing director, MSRDC, said, “We will seek clearance from the Central government in this case. We will submit them the list of bidders and will give them specifications about particular bidders if demanded.”
A representative from the Chinese construction company, requesting anonymity said, “Though there are various easy business policies announced when it comes to India and China, the intelligence agencies have issues related to machineries we import. Also, getting labour from China faces hurdles from intelligence agencies, as they fear leak of information.”
Explaining the reasons why intelligence agencies have reservations against Chinese firms, an MSRDC official, said, “When we appoint a Chinese firm for any infrastructure projects there are confidential documents like maps, soil condition, water bodies that we have to share with them. The intelligence agencies fear that these companies could leak such information with their Chinese counterparts.”
Some of the projects where Chinese companies are bidding or did not get short listed include – the Dahisar-DN Nagar Metro-2B, Dahisar east-Andheri east Metro-7 corridor, the 22-km-long Mumbai trans harbour link (MTHL), Mumbai-Pune expressway augmentation, Bandra-Versova sealink, Nagpur-Mumbai super expressway and the coastal road connecting north and south Mumbai.