The Dubai-based consortium that was the highest bidder for the Dharavi redevelopment project has cried foul and accused Maharashtra bureaucracy of trying to sabotage the current bidding process.
The syndicate – SciLink Technologies Corporation – submitted the highest bid to redevelop one of the world’s largest slums. While the bidding war was started way back in 2018, when Bharatiya Janata Party leader Devendra Fadnavis was the Chief Minister of Maharashtra, it is yet to close. And the Dubai-based syndicate is afraid of losing the contract to the only other bidder for this project – the Adani Infrastructure and Developers Private Limited.
Nilanj Shah, the Chairman and Managing Director of the consortium told Ajoy Mehta, who heads the committee that will award the contract, that they fear a conspiracy is taking shape to make sure the contract goes to the Adanis. He has written two letters to the chair of the Committee of Secretaries (CoS) in the month of January alone, narrating his fears of a corporate coup.
He said: “We fear a conspiracy where someone from the government is sabotaging the current bid process by citing a lame excuse of parameter change due to railway land acquisition.”
According to a Times of India report, Shah has alleged that the CoS has done nothing so far to allay his fears and only referred the matter to Advocate General Avinash Kumbhakoni without presenting a full picture of the bidding process to him. Due to this, the AG had suggested scrapping the existing bid and inviting fresh ones.
The consortium has further explained that the inclusion of railway land doesn’t affect any material change in the tender conditions, since it was already mentioned as a part of the Dharavi Notified Area in the tender documents. Shah’s letter also mentions that the DRP did not handover the Letter of Award (LoA) to them, which should ideally be given within 14 days of opening the bids.
Now, the consortium has urged for a meeting of all the stakeholders, including representatives of Dharavi residents and top ministers to gauge why it has been taking so long to finalise the bids.
The Chairman of SciLink has attacked the CoS for the inordinate delay and said: “If the CoS did not intend to follow timelines, they shouldn’t have committed to it in the global tender.”
He alleged that because of the unreal commitments, he sums of money in the form of Letter of Credit (LoC) is now stuck. It was “arranged at a huge opportunity cost and reserved for the project,” Shah added.