PIL challenges BMC’s Vaitarna dam deal with Chinese firm

Petitioner alleges civic body did not seek Centre’s security clearance before choosing the company
The contract offered by the BMC to a Chinese firm to build a dam on the Vaitarna River may be in trouble as a petition has been filed against the tendering process itself.The BMC had shortlisted China International Water and Electric Corporation (CIWEC), which has formed a joint venture with Soma Enterprises Limited, for the project without seeking security clearance from the central government.
Nagesh Mishra, an Andheri resident, has filed a petition against the BMC, municipal commissioner Jairaj Phatak, the state government, the Centre, Soma Enterprises, CIWEC, and others.
Mishra has urged the Bombay High Court to direct the BMC not to pass the contract for the Mumbai IV A Middle Vaitarana Water Supply Project, to build a roller-compacted contract dam across the river, an approach road, and allied works, unless the Union government clears CIWEC as well as others who participated in the tender procedure. He has also urged the court to impose an injunction on the tender.
Mishra has stated in his petition that China has always had a dispute with India and has strong political, economic, and defence ties with Pakistan. Large Chinese companies are all owned or controlled by the Chinese government.
The Centre had directed all state governments to include a national security clause in all documents issued to invite financial and technical bids from pre-qualified bidders. Yet, the petition says, the BMC failed to mention security concerns in the bid document.According to the petitioner, critical installations such as the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Trombay; the Western Naval Command, Colaba; Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, Nashik; Artillery Centre, Deolali; Ordnance Factory, Ambernath; air defence artillery units at Deolali and Kalina; ONGC’s offshore installations; the India Security and Currency Press, Nashik; thermal power project at Nashik; Trombay Thermal Power Project; and IIT Bombay would be at risk if the Chinese firm were to be given the contract.
Pandurang Mhaske
Wednesday, June 04, 2008 02:43 IST


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