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Govt wants to issue fresh bids for Tehri project phase 2

Govt wants to issue fresh bids for Tehri project phase 2
PTI
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First Published: Wed, Dec 15 2010. 10 56 PM IST
Updated: Wed, Dec 15 2010. 10 57 PM IST
New Delhi: Tehri Hydro Development Corp (THDC) Wednesday informed the Supreme Court that it would invite fresh price bids from the two multinational firms Alstom Hydro and Voith Hydro for the development of its second phase.
Attorney General Goolam E Vahanvati appearing for THDC informed a bench comprising Justices V S Sirpurkar and T S Thakur that it has decided to invite fresh bids for the Tehri Pump Storage Plant, Phase-II.
He further informed the Apex Court that the expert committee has found that three out of four allegations made by Voith Hydro, a joint venture between two German giants Voith and Siemens does not survive.
“We have take a decision to invite fresh bids following the report of the expert committee,” submitted Vahanvati.
Earlier, on 26 March, this year, the Apex Court a three member expert panel and said that the opinion given by it would be considered by the Tehri Hydro Project, while taking a final decision in this regard.
The court’s direction came on appeals filed by THDC, Alstom Hydro and Voith Hydro.
THDC had invited bids for Tehri Pump Storage Plant, Phase-II in 2007. Later, three bidders - Alstom Hydro, Voith and Japan’s Sumitomo Corporation - were declared qualified.
Later, a dispute arose and Alstom approached Uttarakhand High Court contending Voith Siemens was not technically qualified and it had submitted two price bids which was in contravention of the terms and conditions.
However, the High Court had held that Voith was qualified and later this was challenged in the Supreme Court.
Following the direction of the apex court, the government formed a three-member committee and evaluated the bids submitted by them.
The committee has held the bids of Alstom as “non-responsive”, following which it raised objections against the manner in which it took a decision.
The Apex Court, in this matter had also pulled Alstom Hydro, a part of French engineering major Alstom and Voith and expressed concerns by saying that multinational firms were delaying projects of importance in a long-drawn legal battle as the nation suffers.
“We are pained to note that a very important project like the present one is being stuck in a legal battle between the two multinational companies. Till today, even the contract has not been finalized. All this would invariably cause loss to the nation,” the court said.
The bench also said such an important project has already been dragged by more than a year and in its interest it should be started soon.
“After all, contractual rights of these companies are not more important than the national interest,” the bench said adding it was not the court, which would award the contract.
“We must reiterate here that it is not for this Court to award the contracts by accepting or rejecting the tender bids. It is exclusively for the appellant herein to do that. Once this exercise is over, nothing would remain for us to decide in these appeals,” the court said.
The bench said “it should be completed by the end of April, 2010. Tehri herein would then, without loss of time, take the decision, considering the report of the panel of experts regarding the award of contract.”
The bench also said such an important project has already been dragged by more than a year and in its interest it should be started soon.
“After all, contractual rights of these companies are not more important than the national interest,” the bench said adding it was not the court which would award the contract.
We must reiterate here that it is not for this Court to award the contracts by accepting or rejecting the tender bids. It is exclusively for the appellant herein to do that.
“Once this exercise is over, nothing would remain for us to decide in these appeals,” the court said.
The bench said “it should be completed by the end of April, 2010. Tehri herein would then, without loss of time, take the decision, considering the report of the panel of experts regarding the award of contract.”
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First Published: Wed, Dec 15 2010. 10 56 PM IST