The Bihar government on Sunday announced the cancellation of a tender awarded for construction of a new mega bridge parallel to Patna’s iconic Mahatma Gandhi Setu because two of the four contractors selected for the project had Chinese partners, said state minister for road construction Nand Kishore Yadav.
“2 of the 4 contractors who were selected for construction of a new bridge parallel to Mahatma Gandhi Setu, had Chinese partners. We asked them to change their partners but they didn’t, so we cancelled their tender. We have called for applications again,” Yadav was quoted as saying by news agency ANI in Patna.
China Harbour Engineering Company and Shaanxi Road Bridge Group Company (JV) were among the bidders for the project, which was cleared by the Union government’s cabinet committee on economic affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi in December last year.
Bihar government’s decision comes in the wake of outrage against Chinese aggression in eastern Ladakh that resulted in the deaths of 20 Indian Army soldiers on June 15. This has led to calls for boycott of Chinese products and business entities.
Earlier this week, Maharashtra government had temporarily put on hold the memorandum of understanding (MoU) worth Rs 5,020 crore recently signed with three Chinese companies and demanded the Centre to come up with a clear policy on the matter in the context of the “boycott everything Chinese” call.
The MoUs with three Chinese firms are worth Rs 5,020 crore, including Hengli Group (Rs 250 crore), Great Wall Motors (Rs 3,770 crore) and PMI Electro Mobility Solutions, a joint venture with Foton (Rs 1,000 crore).
The 14.500 km long project in Bihar includes the construction of a 5.634 km bridge which runs parallel to the existing four-lane Mahatma Gandhi Setu across the Ganga river on NH-19 at Patna. It also includes four vehicular underpasses, one rail-over- bridge (RoB), 1,580 mtr long one viaduct, four minor bridges, five bus shelters and 13 road junctions. The capital cost of this was estimated at Rs 29.26 billion initially and it was supposed to be completed in 3.5 years.
A confederation of Indian traders, CAIT had recently released a list of over 500 Chinese products and called for their boycott in India.
The Swadeshi Jagran Manch, affiliated with the RSS had also demanded that the Central government cancelled a tender for construction of an underground stretch of Delhi-Meerut Regional Rapid Transit System awarded to Shanghai Tunnel Engineering Company Limited (STEC). Government officials had then clarified that it was not possible to cancel the contract as the project was funded by the Asian Development Bank and was against the rules.