L&T Metro Rail (Hyderabad) Limited said it had awarded signalling and train control, and communication system contracts to various subsidiaries of French multinational Thales group.
Signalling and train control involves advanced communication-based train control system technology, a proven driverless technology with low operating, energy and maintenance costs.
The communication system includes a secured and reliable mobile communication and is a modern technology based on gigabit Ethernet IP backbone on optical fibre cable, being used for the first time for Metro in India, according to the company.
Barring a couple of smaller packages, awarding of almost all the major contracts for the Rs 16,000-crore (Rs 160 billion) metro project had been completed, said VB Gadgil, chief executive and managing director of L&T Metro.
He said they would be further accelerating the pace of the work to complete the 72-km long three-corridor project by 2017 as scheduled.
Thales Canada along with Thales India and Thales Portugal along with Thales India emerged successful bidders for the signalling and communication contracts respectively.
Other players who bid included Siemens, Invensis and Bombardier. In September, the company had awarded the rolling stock contract worth Rs 1,800-crore (Rs 18 billion) to Hyundai Rotem company.
The value of the two new contracts will be decided based on the actual system requirement on the ground, Gadgil said. Gadgil said the company had completed the studies on ways to develop transit-oriented commercial development in a 269 acre land being given in multiple locations in the city by the government as part of the project.
The company proposes to develop office, commercial, and retail space including multiplexes and shopping malls along the corridors as a non-rail revenue stream for the concessionaire.
"We want to develop the commercial and retail property in line with the demand potential instead of dumping everything at once," Gadgil said.
The project envisages the development of about 18 million square feet of commercial and retail space of which, six million square feet will be developed in the first stage.
VB Gadgil, chief executive and managing director of L&T Metro, said the company had so far spent about Rs 850 crore (Rs 8.5 billion) on the project and will start drawing down from the debt in the next 2-3 weeks. The delay in accessing debt, which has already been tied up, was because the bankers wanted revalidation in terms of project cost as the financial closure was achieved in March 2011, according to him.
However, the rate of interest negotiated earlier by the company remains unchanged. The project cost includes about Rs 3,439 crore (Rs 34.39 billion) equity component, the largest commitment made in any single project so far by the L&T group, while Rs 1,458 crore (Rs 14.58 billion) has been granted by the government of India by way of viability funding.
A consortium of 10 banks led by SBI had sanctioned the entire debt requirement of Rs 11,478 crore (Rs 114.78 billion).