Tribune News Service
New Delhi, January 3
The Centre’s strained financial position has compelled it to award a contract to a Chinese company for a vital section of the Delhi-Meerut Regional Rapid Transit System (RRTS).
India has so far borrowed $ 1.5 billion (over Rs 10,000 crore) from the Asian Development Bank (ADB), Manila, and the New Development Bank, Shanghai for the Delhi-Meerut RRTS, the first of its kind in the country on which sleek, aerodynamic trains will attain top speeds of 180 kmph.
Both banks make it conditional that its members must get to participate in the tenders. As China is a member of both NDB and ADB, Shanghai Tunnel Engineering Company Limited was permitted to compete and won the tender for the construction of a 5.6-km underground stretch, from New Ashok Nagar to Sahibabad.
National Capital Region Transport Corporation (NCRTC), which awarded the tender to the lowest bid among five competitors, suggested that the ADB’s procurement guidelines for lending do not permit discrimination to companies of its member countries in the bidding process.
The Shanghai-based NDB has five members with equal membership of five countries and China is a prominent member. As NDB has also extended a $ 241 million loan for the Mumbai metro project, Chinese companies will be expected to participate in the tenders.
The New Ashok Nagar to Sahibabad tender was a closely fought affair. The Chinese company’s quote was a few crore less than that of the Turkish company Gulermak.
Despite South Block’s political estrangement with Ankara over the Kashmir lockdown, Gulermak has completed the Lucknow Metro and is executing two major projects for Pune Metro. Turkey is also a member of ADB and its companies will be in the race for contracts for all projects for which the Manila-based bank extends loans.
A statement by the NCRTC spokesperson said, “Approvals have to be taken at various levels for bids that are funded by multilateral agencies. This bid was also awarded following the set procedure and guidelines.
“Now, all the civil work tenders of the 82-km Delhi-Ghaziabad-Meerut corridor have been awarded and the construction is going on in full swing to commission the project in time.’’
While the Delhi-Meerut RRTS leg has taken off with the award of tenders, the Delhi-Panipat leg is still in the formative stage. The Haryana government has approved its contribution of Rs 4,699 crore for the project. It will facilitate easy access to Panipat Institute of Engineering, IITM Group of Institutions, Ashoka University, Park Hospital and AIIMS.
Scheduled Castes had backed Cong in 2017