Skip to main content

Poor response to tenders for Gujarat's bid for the world's tallest statue, no international firm shows interest

By Rajiv Shah
The Gujarat government’s claim that its decision to build the world’s tallest statue in the world, in the memory of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, would attract “tremendous” response from top international construction companies, has gone phut. The state government floated international tenders in August to build the statue, which is slated to be 182-metres high. Despite the “international” character of the tenders and big claims, well-informed Sachivalaya sources close to Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi say, “not one international firm has come up to offer to carry out the construction activity.”
A senior official, requesting anonymity, told Counterview that “only two companies have filled up tenders, and both are Indian”. One of them is the well-known infrastructure firm Larsen & Toubro (L&T), which was involved in the construction of the so-called Mahatma Mandir, meant to hold high-profile business summits in Gujarat state capital. The other one is little-known JMC, a local Ahmedabad-based firm, known to be close to one of the senior minister of the Gujarat Cabinet, with “business interests” in Gandhinagar.
This has happened despite the fact that in June 2012, the state government, through a special purpose vehicle, handed over project management consultancy for building the world’s tallest statue to Turner Construction, one of the largest US builders. Turner was responsible building global landmarks such as the new Yankee Stadium in New York; the Breakers Hotel in Palm Beach, Florida; and the world’s tallest and second-tallest buildings, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai and Taipei 101 in Taiwan.
Turner’s main responsibility was to rope in reputed international firms to build the statue. Its purpose was to get involved in the project right from the beginning, which include the pre-design phase and floating of engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) bid for the project, to construction, supervision and handing over of the project. Turner agreed to do the job for the state government for Rs 61 crore.
When Turner entered into agreement with Gujarat government, state officials were already in negotiations with South Korea's Samsung Construction & Technology (C&T) for the project’s actual implementation. In 2011, senior executives from Samsung C&T took geo-technological data, including rock condition, weight bearing capacity of the river pit and hydraulic capacity. They submitted a go-ahead report, and it was widely believed that they would be the frontrunners in the decision to build the project.
After all, it was suggested, Samsung C&T was involved in building the world’s tallest, Burj Khalifa, which is 828 metres tall. “It is strange”, a senior official commented. “Samsung C&T refused to fill up even the simple tender form… Maybe it wanted to be nominated by the Gujarat government to construction the statue. However, fearing accusations of corruption in any such deal with Samsung, the state government may have decided against it.”
Worse, officials said, the companies which have filled up the tender have put Rs 2,800 crore as the cost of the of the statue, as against Rs 2,000 crore, declared as the project cost about two years ago, when the idea of the project was floated. “This is because, they seem to have tied up with some Chinese companies to build the statue”, the official pointed out, adding, however, “Things have got complicated, and the tenders may be finalized only after the Lok Sabha polls, scheduled in April-May.”
Meanwhile, it is reliably learnt that Modi’s effort to “collect” iron all over the country to be used in the construction of the statue has failed to evoke necessary response. A senior official said, “In all, the statue would require around 2,500 tonnes of iron. However, we are unlikely to be have collected more than 150 tonnes, which would have to be melted to build the statue. Once melted, we would be able to extract just one-third of it, while the rest will go waste. As for the rest of the iron, it would have to be bought…”

Comments

TRENDING

Telangana govt proposes to give unfettered powers to forest officials, 'help' corporates

By Dr Palla Trinadha Rao*
The Telangana Government is contemplating to replace the Telangana Forest Act 1967 with a new law - the Telangana Forest Act (TFA) 2019, trampling the rights of adivasis ensured under the Scheduled Tribes and other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 (FRA Act 2006) and Panchayats Extension to Schedule Area (PESA) Act 1996 both of which are central acts.

RSS, Hindu Mahasabha were 'subservient' to British masters: Nagpur varsity VC told

Counterview Desk
Well-known political scientist Shamsul Islam, associate professor (retired), University of Delhi, in an open letter to the vice-chancellor of the Rashtrasant Tukadoji Maharaj Nagpur University, Dr Siddharthavinayaka P Kane, has taken strong exception to the varsity decision to include RSS’ “role” in nation building in the syllabus of the BA (history) course, citing instances to say that the RSS ever since its birth in 1925 with its Hindutva allies like Hindu Mahasabha led by VD Savarkar worked overtime to “betray the glorious anti-colonial freedom struggle”.

It's now official: Developed Gujarat's regular, casual workers earn less than 19 top states

By Rajiv Shah
Though not as low as state chief minister Vijay Rupani claims it to be (0.9%), Gujarat’s unemployment rate, at least as reflected in a recent report released by the Government of India, is 4.8%, lower than the national average, 6%. Yet, ironically, the same report, released soon after the Lok Sabha polls came to an end in May 2019, brings to light an even grimmer reality: Lower wages in "model" and "developed" Gujarat compared to virtually the whole of India, including the so-called Bimaru states.

British companies export 'deadly' asbestos to India, other countries from offshore offices

By Rajiv Shah
“The Sunday Times”, which forms part of the powerful British daily, “The Times”, has raised the alarm that though the “deadly” asbestos is banned in Britain, companies registered in United Kingdom, and operating from other countries, “are involved in shipping it to developing nations”, especially India. India, Brazil, Russia and China account for almost 80% of the asbestos consumed globally every year, it adds.

Amaravati: World Bank refusing to share public grievances on Land Pooling Scheme

By Our Representative
A new report, prepared by the advocacy group Centre for Financial Accountability (CFA), New Delhi, has taken strong exception to the World Bank refusing to share its independent assessment of the Land Pooling Scheme (LPS), floated by the Andhra Pradesh government in order to build the new capital.

Beijing-based infrastructure bank 'funding' India's environmentally risky projects

By Our Representative
A new civil society note has questioned the operations of the Beijing-based Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), a multilateral development bank that aims to support the building of infrastructure in the Asia-Pacific region, seeking to fund projects in India through the Government of India’s National Infrastructure Investment Fund (NIIF), calling it “a risky venture”.

Include all workers exposed to silica dust in anti-TB programme: Govt of India told

Counterview Desk
In a letter, sponsored by well-known civil rights organization, Occupational & Environmental Health Network of India and signed by more than 60 professionals and activists*, Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, has been told that Indian policy makers shouldn't just acknowledge higher TB risk to mine and stone crusher workers, but also “other silica-exposed workers”.

Universal healthcare? India lacks provisions to 'fight' non-communicable diseases

By Moin Qazi*
Universal health coverage (UHC) -- ensuring that all people receive proper and adequate health care without suffering financial hardship -- is an integral part of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. It enables countries to make the most of their strongest asset: human capital.

Gender budgeting? Govt of India allocates just 2.1%, 0.73% for SC, ST women

By Rajiv Shah
The National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights (NCDHR), one of the most influential all-India Dalit rights networks, has taken strong exception to the manner in which the Government of India has undermined Gender Responsive Budgeting in the Union Budget 2019-20 for scheduled castes (SCs) and scheduled tribes (STs), pointing towards “wide gaps” between the goals and the situational reality of “the Dalit and Adivasi women on the ground.”

Polygamy in India "down" in 45 yrs: Muslims' from 5.7 to 2.55%, Hindus' 5.8 to 1.77%, "common" in SCs, STs

By Rajiv Shah
Amidst All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) justifying polygamy, saying it “meets social and moral needs and the provision for it stems from concern and sympathy for women”, facts suggest the the practice is down from 5.7 per cent of Muslim families in 1961 to 2.55 per cent in 2006.