Polavaram contract raises Telangana heat

| October 23, 2011 | 1 Comment
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No sooner had the agitation for a separate Telangana state begun to simmer down than it threatens to erupt again: this time over the award of a contract to a construction company linked to a Telugu newspaper in which Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) president K Chandrasekhara Rao is a stakeholder.

Crying foul, the Opposition is accusing the Congress government of buying peace with the TRS via this contract, a charge the government denies.

On October 19, the state government awarded a Rs 4,717-crore contract to Southern Engineering Works (SEW) Infrastructure to execute four major components of the Polavaram Project including spillway, head work, earth-and-rock fill dam and excavation for the 960 MW hydel power generation house.

The government said it saved Rs 600 crore by conducting the tender process for the contract in a transparent manner — SEW was the lowest of five bidders for the four works, quoting 12.6 per cent less than the total value of the work.

SEW Infrastructure has stakes in Intercontinental Infrastructure Ltd, a Hyderabad-based company which, in turn, is a stakeholder in Telangana Publications Pvt Limited that publishes Namaste Telangana. TRS’s Rao has invested Rs 4.12 crore and owns 41.25 lakh shares in Telangana Publications.

The chairman of Intercontinental Infrastructure is C L Rajam, a former Resident Engineer, and later one of the directors of SEW Infrastructure.

Since it was launched on June 6, 2011, Namaste Telangana, described by TRS chief K Chandrasekhara Rao as the “heartbeat of Telangana,” consistently opposed the Polavaram Dam coming up in West Godavari district. It argued that the dam would only benefit coastal Andhra districts and not the five districts of Telangana through which the river passes.

But a day after the contract was awarded, the lead story in the newspaper praised the government for awarding the contract to SEW Infrastructure.

“TRS President K Chandrasekhara Rao is being given contracts by the Congress government to call off the Telangana agitation,” said senior TDP leader Eraballi Dayakar Rao.

Speaking to The Sunday Express, K Chandrasekhara Rao said: “The TRS is still opposed to Polavaram project. It is wrong to link SEW infrastructure with Namaste Telangana just because another firm Intercontinental Infrastructure is linked to both. I have instructed TRS floor leader in the Assembly Etela Rajender to clarify this.’’

SEW was started in 1959 at Vijayawada and is involved in construction of earthen and masonay dams, aquaducts and large concrete complexes. It was involved with the construction of Nagarjuna Sagar Dam in the 1960s and has built four major dams in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. It also built the Mahatma Gandhi Bus Station, Asia’s largest central bus terminus, at Hyderabad.

Major and Minor Irrigation Minister P Sudarshan Reddy said: “It was a transparent bidding process. How is the government supposed to know about the links between SEW Infrastructure and Namaste Telangana? We went by the criteria of the lowest bidder gets selected and SEW was not only lowest bidder but also met all the conditions. The second lowest bidder, Soma Constructions Joint Venture with a China company, quoted Rs 20 crore more. TDP and others are raising a hue and cry but the process is not yet over. There is a high-powered committee involving ministers and IAS officers which will screen the recommendation to award the contract. If there are any anomalies we will cancel it,’’ Reddy said.

KCR’s son K T Rama Rao said the party’s stand opposing Polavaram remains unchanged. “We will ask the government to cancel the contacts and call for fresh tenders,’’ Rao said.

TRS floor leader in Assembly Etala Rajender dismissed the allegations: “Let the TDP prove the link. The TRS is still questioning the state government’s decision to go ahead with Polavaram project. We oppose the dam.’’

source from IndianExpress

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  1. belly fat says:

    That was some academic piece!

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