Maha Vikas Aghadi’s State Housing Minister Jitendra Awhad wants the central government to cancel a tender won by a Chinese firm in the light of the aggression at Galwan Valley, but sources from the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) which conducted the bidding said the contract cannot be cancelled as it is an ADB-funded one and their rules don’t allow for this. Last week, the Shanghai Tunnel Engineering Company Limited (STEC) emerged as the lowest bidder – it bid Rs 1,126.9 crore versus L&T’s Rs 1,170 crore – for an underground stretch of the Delhi-Meerut Regional Rapid Transit System. This is one of three rapid-rail corridors proposed under the project that will connect Delhi and Meerut via Ghaziabad. Other bidders included Tata Projects at Rs 1,346.3 crore and Afcons Infrastructure which bid Rs 1,400.4 crore. Indian was one of the competitors in this bidding but we lost the opportunity.
When Afternoon Voice spoke to Jitendra Awhad, he said “Modi has miserably failed on ‘Make in India’, now he came up with ‘AtmaNirbhar Bharat’ and unfortunately allotted tenders to Chinese Company, whereas India should have been given that opportunity to fulfil the commitment towards ‘AtmaNirbhar Bharat’. He should practice what he preaches, this is a time for Indian business to transform and take a positive approach towards investment for building ‘AtmaNirbhar Bharat’ but PM has failed on all fronts.”
When questioned about Maharashtra’s recently signed MoUs with 3 Chinese firms for Rs 5000 crores, Awhad said, “There is a difference between tendering and direct investments. That is the investment by the three Chinese companies is collectively worth over Rs 5,000 crore”. Losing tender means trailing an opportunity to generate that business by our own Indian firms.” He further stated, “Look at the irony, in the Galwan Valley clash and India-China faceoff no country is speaking on the issue where it is clear that the aggression is done by China. Has India’s International policy and diplomacy failed?”.
Swadeshi Jagran Manch co-convener Ashwani Mahajan said “The need of the hour is to boycott Chinese products, stop endorsing Chinese brands, government should stop Chinese imports, Chinese investment and tenders to Chinese companies for infrastructure including proposed tender to Tunnel Eng Co. He was more reluctant to promote ‘Made in India’ products.”
An MoHUA official said the construction of the 5.6 km tunnel was an ADB-funded project – the bids were invited in November 2019 and opened on March 16, 2020 – and STEC emerged as the lowest bidder on June 12; he said that while the tender was “under process” and “yet to be finalised”, “ADB/World Bank/Multi-lateral procurement guidelines do not allow discrimination among firms/ countries”.
Whereas the MoUs signed by Maharashtra Government under the ‘Magnetic Maharashtra 2.0’, hours before the violent face-off between Indian and Chinese troops in the Galwan Valley in Ladakh, in which 20 Indian Army personnel were martyred. All the three Chinese companies — Hengli Engineering, PMI Electro Mobility Solutions JV with Photon and Great Wall Motors — will invest in Talegaon in Pune district, the statement has said. Hengli Engineering will invest Rs 250 crore, PMI will invest Rs 1,000 crore in the auto sector, it said, adding that Great Wall Motors will set up an automobile company with an investment of Rs 3,770 crore. MoUs were also signed with companies from other countries like USA, Singapore and South Korea, from diverse sectors like automobile, logistics, banking, engineering and mobile production, the statement said.