Problems continue for Bangalore-Mysore expressway

By Nidhi Jamwal
Published: Monday 15 October 2007

on august 30, the Karnataka government passed a cabinet decision to invite global tenders for the Bangalore-Mysore Infrastructure Corridor Project. Following this, the war between the project's present developer, Bangalore-based Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprise (nice), and the state government has become worse.

The project is facing problems since its inception (see 'Roadblock', Down To Earth, September 15, 2007). Karnataka wants to use a Swiss challenge system to oust nice and invite a new developer.

Swiss Challenge system is a bidding process to help private sector initiative in core sector projects. It's an offer made by the original proponent to the government ensuring its process is the best (in terms of effectiveness including both cost and time). The system then allows third parties to make better offers for the project.The original proponent then gets the right to counter-match any superior offers given by the third party.

Karnataka claims Global Infrastructure Consortium (gic) has offered to finish the project faster with much less costs, than nice. The consortium has agreed to forsake 971.2 hectares (ha) of excess land that has been illegally acquired by nice, claims the state government.

nice, however, says there is no question of land grabbing as it is entitled for 8,172 ha for the project, of which it has received only 2832.8 ha till date.

Manjunath Naikar, spokesperson of nice, claims the system cannot be applied because it is not an innovative project but a standard infrastructure project. Other developers can quote a lower cost because nice has already done most of the groundwork. The project is about to complete and at this stage it is unethical for the government to appoint a new developer, he says.

nice officials feel the move is politically motivated. "Karnataka in its July affidavit informed the Supreme Court about its intention to appoint a new developer. It did not have the cabinet clearance then. But it has now hurriedly passed the decision," says Naikar.

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