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

Whistle-blowing IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt's wife suspects foul play after truck hits her car

By Nachiketa Desai*
Paranoia has seized Shweta Bhatt, wife of suspended Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Sanjiv Bhatt, after the car she was driving was rammed in broad day light. According to Shweta Bhatt, it was beacon light-flashing truck without registration number plate. The incident took place on January 7, just a day ahead of the Gujarat High Court was scheduled to take up the bail application of Sanjiv Bhatt, arrested last year for "involvement" in a 23-year-old case.

Call to support IIM-Bangalore professor, censured for seeking action against Uniliver

Counterview Desk
Sections of the Indian Institute of Managements (IIMs) across India have strongly reacted to the decision to censure Dr Deepak Malghan, a faulty at IIM-Bangalore. Prabhir Vishnu Poruthiyil, who is faculty at IIM-Tiruchirapalli, has sought wider solidarity with Dr Malghan, saying, "The administration has censured Deepak for merely suggesting a meaningful action against Hindustan Unilever for their abysmal environmental record" by “disinviting” it for campus placement.

99% MGNREGA funds "exhausted", Govt of India makes no additional sanctions: Study

Counterview Desk
A letter, addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and prepared by senior activists led by Aruna Roy on behalf of the Peoples’ Action for Employment Guarantee (PAEG), and signed, among others, by 80 members of Parliament, has regretted that, despite repeated public statements by his government promising employment and job creation that will boost the country’s growth, the country’s only employment guarantee programme, Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), “is being systematically undermined.”

Morari Bapu, who has installed new statues of Ram, Laxman, Hanuman without weapons

By Sandeep Pandey*
A saint is one who can give some inner peace by his/her voice. This will happen only when s(he) will talk about love and harmony. Morari Bapu is one saint who has been conveying the message of love, peace, harmony, fraternity, etc. Today when a number of saffron clad figures with aggressive posture, spewing venom, fanning hatred to polarise voters are at the forefront of politics of Hindutva it is a relief to see Morari Bapu in a different mould.

Nuclear reactors sought from French giant "not safe": Letter to Modi on Jaitapur project

Counterview Desk
Amidst reports that the French nuclear giant EDF has submitted a “techno-commercial offer” for the world’s largest nuclear power park proposed in Maharashtra’s Jaitapur nuclear power park in Jaitapur on the Maharashtra coast, Dr EAS Sarma, India’s former Union Secretary in the Minister of Power, and an eminent voice in the civil society, has written an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who also heads Department of Atomic Energy (DAE),  protesting the move.

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

Kerala land being acquired using "draconian, anti-people" National Highway Act, 1956

Counterview Desk
In a letter Chief Minister of Kerala Pinarayi Vijayan, senior activists and politicians have insisted that the Kerala government should not agree to "inhuman displacement and buid-operate-transfer (BOT) Toll system", imposed by the Government of India and the National Highway Authority of India, for widening the current National Highway (NH) 66.

Kaiga NPP expansion: Karnataka to get just 400 MW, but lose thick forest, fresh water

Counterview Desk
In an open letter to the chairman and members of the Atomic energy Commission (AEC) on the issue of Kaiga nuclear power plant (NPP) expansion plan in Karnataka, Shankar Sharma, well-known power policy analyst, has argued that that in case of expansion, the site will face “exponential increase in radiation emission risks”, underlining, “Nuclear safety experts identify such a scenario as enhanced risk for NPPs with multiple reactors and shared technical facilities."
Sharma says the questions that also be asked whether Karnataka should lose more than 54 hectares of thick forests and about 152,304 cubic meters of fresh water per day from Kali river for a meager benefit of 400 MW from the Kaiga NPP, for which “there are many benign alternative options available for the state at much lower overall costs to the state.”
Text of the letter: This has reference to the public hearing under the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Rule 2006 of Ministry of Environment, Fore…

Uttarakhand High Court: Biodiversity boards can impose fees on Ramdev's Divya Pharmacy

By Mridhu Tandon
In a significant decision, the Uttarakhand High Court on December 21, 2018 has dismissed the writ petition filed by Divya Pharmacy founded by Baba Ramdev and Acharya Balakrishnan, challenging the demand of the Uttarakhand Biodiversity Board (UBB) imposing fees under the provisions of the Fair and Equitable Benefit Sharing (FEBS).

Modi becoming Prime Minister now appears to be an "accident" to the people of India

By Sandeep Pandey*
Anupam Kher's film 'Accidental Prime Minister' has targeted Dr Manmohan Singh who served for two terms and may be again acceptable for the job if his party regains power. But his tormentor Narendra Modi seems to be out of breath even before his first term is over. Disillusionment with him is so widespread and deep that people of India may not bear with him for another term. As the general elections approach again the difference between the two needs to be examined.