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

Misleading ads 'manipulate, seduce, lure' to market unhealthy harmful food

By Our Representative  The Nutrition Advocacy in Public Interest (NAPI) in its new report “50 Shades of Food Advertising” has sought to expose how seductive, luring, manipulative or deceptive these advertisements can be. Consequences of such advertising are increased intake of unhealthy food products that is associated with obesity and diabetes, it says. 

Why's Govt of India reluctant to consider battery storage system for renewal energy?

By Shankar Sharma*  If having so many small size battery energy storage system (BESS) at different locations of the grid, as in the report from Australia (a portfolio of 27 small battery storage projects across three Australian states that will total arounds 270 MWh), is considered to be techno-economically attractive in a commercially driven market such as Australia, the question that becomes a lot more relevance to Indian scenario is: why are our planners not in favour of installing such small size BESS at most of the distribution sub-stations not only to accelerate the addition of RE power capacities, but also to minimise the need for large size solar/ wind power parks, dedicated transmission lines and pumped storage plants; which will also minimise the associated technical losses.

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

'Failure of governance': India, China account for 54% pollution-related deaths globally

By Vikas Parsaram Meshram*   A recent report jointly prepared by UNICEF and the independent research organization Health Effects Institute has been released, and the statistics within it are alarming. It states that in 2021, air pollution caused the deaths of 2.1 million Indians, including 169,000 children who hadn't yet fully experienced life. These figures are indeed distressing and raise questions about why there hasn't been more serious effort in this direction, putting policymakers to shame. 

New MVA-INDIA MPs asked to raise Maharashtra milk farmers' demand

By Our Representative  All-India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) national president Dr Ashok Dhawale and AIKS Maharashtra general secretary Dr Ajit Nawale have asked three newly-elected MPs of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA-INDIA) from the milk belt of Maharashtra Dr Amol Kolhe (NCP),  Bhausaheb Wakchaure (SS), and Nilesh Lanke (NCP), to take up the cause of milk farmers of Maharashtra in Parliament.  After congratulating them on their resounding victory over their BJP-NDA rivals, the AIKS leaders apprised them of the milk farmers struggle which is intensifying in the state under the leadership of the AIKS and the Milk Farmers Joint Struggle Committee, and requested them to support it. All three MPs agreed not only to support, but also to take the initiative in this struggle, an official AIKS communique claimed. Farmers in Maharashtra are currently getting as low as Rs 24-27 per litre for cow milk, which is being sold in the market for Rs 56-60 per litre, the AIKS leaders noted. The low price to farmer

Report suggests Indian democracy 'hasn't achieved' equitable economic decentralization

By Vikas Parsaram Meshram  The news that the current economic inequality in the country is worse than during British rule is unsettling. This suggests the harsh reality that our democracy has not achieved equitable economic decentralization. A recent report by Thomas Piketty and three other economists reveals shocking findings: in 2023-24, the top 1% of the wealthiest people in India hold 40% of the nation's wealth, with a 22.6% share in income.