Govt orders rebidding for Rs 10,050 cr Zojila tunnel

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NEW DELHI: The government has ordered “rebidding” of the strategic Rs 10,050-crore Zojila pass tunnel contract in Jammu and Kashmir, which was earlier given to IRB Infrastructure. 

The decision to rebid the tunnel project was taken recently at a high-level meeting, chaired by Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari, official sources said. 

At the meeting, officials informed Gadkari that IRB Infrastructure had approached the Ministry to expedite the contract as the project was being delayed, sources said. 

“The Minister was of the view that if any doubts are raised in respect of any project concerning his Ministries, he would not hesitate to order rebidding. Gadkari said that since some doubts have been raised in respect of the project, rebidding should be ordered to maintain complete transparency and uphold probity in public life,” a source told PTI. 

The project is of strategic importance, rebidding should be done at the earliest, the Minister told officials, he added. 

Congress General Secretary Digvijay Singh had in January alleged that Gadkari had violated the CVC guidelines while awarding the contract. 

Gadkari had rubbished the charges of corruption, saying that Singh’s allegations were “completely false” as the ministry followed a transparent e-tender system. 

Meanwhile, the developer in a regulatory filing to the BSE has informed that the company has received a communication from the government about the cancellation of the bid process. 

“The Company has received communication from the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways that it has decided to cancel the bid process for the project and cancelled the said letter of award without assigning any reasons,” IRB infrastructure said. 

The company had earlier intimated the BSE on January 3 about the letter of award for JLN Construction, Operation and Maintenance of Zozila Tunnel including approaches on NH-1 (Srinagar – Sonmarg – Gumri Road) on Design, Build, Finance, Operate & Transfer (Annuity) basis. 

Soon after the award, the Road Transport Ministry had said all due processes in line with the Cabinet approval were followed in award of strategic Rs 10,050 crore Zojila pass tunnel contract to IRB Infrastructure. 

The statement had come a day after Congress had demanded sacking of Gadkari, alleging that the award was a “clear case of corruption at the highest level”. 

“The Ministry of Road Transport & Highways follows due procedure while maintaining complete transparency in the award of any contracts. In the instant case also, the contract was awarded after due diligence after the bid was found technically responsive. Financial bid was opened and the quoted Semi Annuity amount found in line with the approval of CCEA for award of the work,” an official statement had said.

 

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