New Delhi: The National Highways Builders Federation (NHBF), an industry body of highway developers in the country has asked the government to look into various cases of cancellation of technical and financial bids, after they were announced.
The NHBF says that between 2009 and 2011, bids for upto 20 projects worth Rs 17212.23 crores were cancelled by the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI). These projects were for building 2079.84 km of highways.
NHAI is the nodal agency for roads and highways, throught which the government awards contracts.
“The indented bidders invested their manpower and money for the preparation of the bid documents wasted by these cancellations at the last minute,” M Murali, director general, NHBF said in a 12 July letter to C P Joshi, the union minister for road transport and highways, a copy of which has been reviewed by Mint.
Murali, in his letter added that the “wastage” is to the tune of Rs 50 lakh per bidder, which he spends on an average while bidding for a Rs 1000 crore project. The industry body has asked the government to “avoid cancelling of the projects at the last minute to avert hardship to developers.”
An NHAI official, who did not wish to be identified, however claimed that while there were delays, none of the proposed projects had been shelved. “Our endevour is to save time, so we start the bidding process around the time the project is announced, without actually waiting for clearences,” the official said. “On occasions however, if there is an issue with clearences, there could are delays,” he added.
“Sure, there have been prrocedural delays in the last 2-3 years, but things have begun moving. In the last few days, the government has cleared pending contracts worth 7000-8000 crores,” said Arvind Pandurangi, senior director with Deloitte. “And, now with the cabinet reshuffle, awarding of contracts will pick up pace,” he added.