VUDA awards contracts for twin buildings to BJP ‘friend’, stirs row

Dec 07 2013, 03:46 IST
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SummaryThe contract has kicked up a row as the Congress alleged that the firm was owned by Nilesh Shah, who is believed to be closely associates with the BJP.

The contract for the redevelopment of Vadodara Urban Development Authority’s (VUDA) Madhavnagar and Keshavnagar colonies, whose buildings had collapsed killing 11, were awarded to NA Constructions on Wednesday.

This has kicked up a row as the Congress alleged that the firm was owned by Nilesh Shah, who is believed to be closely associated with the BJP. The Congress is protesting against VUDA’s decision to award the contract to NA Constructions. City Congress President Narendra Ravat said, “NA Construction is the state government’s proxy contractor. The bids are totally manipulated.” Ravat, who has written a letter to Chief Minister Narendra Modi against the decision of the tendering process, says, “It is a shame that after 11 people died and hundreds have been left homeless in

Vadodara, the government is finding ways to make money under Public-Private-Partnership. Why should a firm be given half the land meant for the economically weaker sections?”

According to VUDA, it received three negative bids from firms interested in the reconstruction - all of them demanding a compensatory remuneration from VUDA to undertake the project. The highest remuneration demand was Rs 9 crore by Shangrila, a firm owned by Chirayu Amin. It was Rs 3.70 crore from a firm owned by SP Infrastructure and Rs 2.4 crore from NA Constructions.

However, SP Infrastructure was disqualified as it did not pay up the security deposit before bidding for the tender. A C Vyas, assistant chief engineer and assistant town development officer, said, “Out of the three negative bids, NA construction was the only one willing to convert it into a positive one. They agreed to pay VUDA the sum of Rs 1 crore and also comply with the conditions laid down in the contract.” The work order will be finalised once the construction firm deposits its 33% instalment of the sum with the VUDA. Vyas says, “They have been given an FSI of 3 and 14 months time to complete the RCC structures. They can utilise the remaining space after the redevelopment houses are completed within the FSI. The first two months are granted for development permissions from the VMC while the remaining 12 months will be needed for the actual construction.”

Ravat, however, said, “SP Infrastructure had not even given the security deposit so how could their bid be taken? These were dummy bids, but it was pre-decided that NA constructions would be granted the project.”

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