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Thursday, Aug 08, 2002

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Ministries want open bidding for Vallarpadam

P. Manoj


THE Union Ministries of Finance and Law have opposed a proposal mooted by the Shipping Ministry to re-tender the much-delayed plan for container transhipment terminal at Vallarpadam in Kochi port on a limited tender basis.

"In their comments to the note submitted for the consideration of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), the Finance and Law Ministries were of the view that the Vallarpadam project should be re-tendered on the basis of open competitive bidding instead of adopting the limited tender format", Government sources said.

While stating its position on the Shipping Ministry's proposal, the Finance and Law Ministries were of the opinion that the selection of bidders under the limited tendering format would be open to questions and therefore it would be essential to adopt the competitive bidding route.

The proposal was considered by the CCEA at a meeting held on July 30, but a decision was deferred since the discussions were inconclusive, the sources said.

The Shipping Ministry had identified six major private entities, which would bid for the project when it is re-tendered on a limited format. These include CSX Corporation, Maersk-Sealand (part of the A P Moller Group), P&O Ports, PSA Corporation, Hutchison Port Holdings and Dubai Ports Authority.

The Shipping Ministry's proposal also involved discharging the lone bid submitted by P&O Ports in the earlier round of bidding. It was expected to be taken up by the CCEA at its next meeting, the sources said.

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