New Delhi: RSS affiliate Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM) has demanded the Narendra Modi government cancel the financial bid of a Chinese company, Shanghai Tunnel Engineering Co. Ltd (STEC), which emerged as the lowest bidder for the construction of an underground stretch of Delhi-Meerut RRTS (Regional Rapid Transit System) project.
The SJM has requested the government to cancel the company’s bid if it is serious about making India self-reliant.
SJM national co-convener Ashwani Mahajan told ThePrint they have requested Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari to cancel the Chinese company’s bid over two issues.
“First is, when we are promoting ‘Atma Nirbhar Bharat’ to encourage domestic companies, how can the government award contracts to a Chinese company? Second is security and quality issues. After the Covid pandemic, the trust factor is one of the major concerns with Chinese firms. We have earlier opposed Huawei participation in 5G trials on security issues and now we are pitching for the domestic industries,” he added.
“We have started a campaign to boycott Chinese products and accept local ones. This is the need of the hour. The prime minister himself announced the ‘Vocal for Local’ campaign. There is no fault in tendering process, but the fault lies in giving the tender to a Chinese company, which will be against the concept of self-reliant India,” Mahajan said.
STEC quoted Rs 1,126 crore for the project
The National Capital Region Transport Corporation Limited had floated a tender for the first underground civil construction project in November last year and its technical bid was opened in March. The project will connect Delhi, Ghaziabad and Meerut.
The STEC and four other companies had qualified for the technical bid. The Chinese firm last week qualified for the financial bid too as it was the lowest bidder. The bidding was for the construction of the 5.6-km-long underground stretch between New Ashok Nagar–Sahibabad.
The STEC quoted Rs 1,126 crore for the project, while L&T quoted Rs 1,170 crore, Gulermak Rs 1,326 crore, Tata Projects Rs 1,346 crore and Afcons Infrastructure Rs 1,400 crore. The STEC is likely to bag the tender for the project as it’s the lowest bidder.
After the award of the ‘Letter of Acceptance’, the project has to be completed within three years.
“Earlier also, the Government of India rejected several tenders to promote the ‘Make in India’ programme. This is the perfect opportunity to promote domestic companies even if their quote is slightly higher. Also, we can’t trust the Chinese any more. We are attracting investments from other countries. If we will award contracts to them, how the concept of making India self-reliant will work,” he asked.
‘No chance of cancelling tender’
An official in the transport and highways ministry, however, ruled out any chance of rejecting the STEC’s financial bid because of it being a Chinese company, unless it is found that it has adopted “unfair means”.
“This project is funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB). Thirty-nine per cent funding is done by the ADB. If the company hasn’t adopted any unfair means to qualify for the bids, then it is out of question to reject the tendering process,” said the official, who didn’t want to be named.
“This is a crucial highway project, which has to be completed under the time-frame,” he added.
Why news media is in crisis & How you can fix it
India needs free, fair, non-hyphenated and questioning journalism even more as it faces multiple crises.
But the news media is in a crisis of its own. There have been brutal layoffs and pay-cuts. The best of journalism is shrinking, yielding to crude prime-time spectacle.
ThePrint has the finest young reporters, columnists and editors working for it. Sustaining journalism of this quality needs smart and thinking people like you to pay for it. Whether you live in India or overseas, you can do it here.