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The final date for submitting bids on the tender for a light railway in Jerusalem has been postponed by seven weeks, until the end of May.

The government's postponement came in the wake of a request by the Pasim group - one of two groups taking part in the tender - to delay the final date for submitting bids by three months, to the end of June.

The final submission date for the tender had originally been set for January 2002, but following changes that were made to the tender's business model, and at the request of the participants, the date was moved to the end of March. Two groups pulled out of the tender, citing "commercial reasons," but are believed to have withdrawn because of Palestinian opposition to the railway, parts of which will cut through East Jerusalem.

The Jerusalem light railway system is scheduled to begin operations in 2006. It will comprise 24 stations along a 13.8 kilometer line.

The second bidder for the tender is the City Pas group.