Friday, August 31, 2007

Govt gives new twist to NICE tale

Govt gives new twist to NICE tale
DH News Service, Bangalore:
In a new twist to the long standing battle between State government and Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprise (NICE), promoters of the Bangalore Mysore Infrastructure Corridor (BMIC) Project, the State Cabinet on Thursday decided to withdraw a certain clause pertaining to transfer of land to the promoters in effect stalling the project.

The Cabinet decided to abrogate a clause in the agreement signed between the State government, NICE and Nandi Economic Corridor Enterprises on August 9, 2002, which provides for acquisition of land through absolute sale deed for the toll road, 10 interchanges and also the first township.
Further, in a move to terminate the original agreement with NICE, the Cabinet decided to seek Supreme Court’s permission to call for fresh global bids to implement the project.
Briefing reporters after the Cabinet meeting, Primary and Secondary Education Minister Basavaraj Horatti said that no sale deeds will be executed in favour of NICE until the matter is disposed of by the SC.
Mr Horatti said on the consent of the apex court, international bids will be called through “Swiss challenge method” following the proposal given by the Global Infrastructure Consortium (GIC) regarding the BMIC project.
In July this year, the State government, in an affidavit before the Supreme Court, had stated that the new consortium has filed a proposal to take over the Rs 2,250-crore project from NICE and implement it on an “as-is-where-is” basis, utilising only 20,193 acres of land and providing more facilities like a monorail link.
Mr Horatti alleged that NICE had made attempts to get sale deeds for a larger extent of land than 20,193 acre — the quantum agreed in the Frame Work Agreement (FWA) of 1997 and upheld both by the Karnataka High Court and Supreme Court. Mr Horatti said that it has come to the notice of the State government that NICE was illegally trying to sell lands in road portions and also interchanges of the project.
He said that the GIC had given a proposal to carry out the BMIC project in terms of the FWA and had agreed to effect certain modifications in the agreement which were favourable to the State. The new consortium had also agreed to have the arbitration at Bangalore.
Mr Horatti said the Cabinet was of the view the new proposal indicated that the BMIC project was viable even without “the deviations which have occurred subsequent to the FWA”.
Moreover, under the new infrastructure policy formulated by the State, a suo motto proposal has to be placed for global competitive bidding through ‘Swiss challenge method’.
In view of this provision, the offer made by the GIC can be placed for global bidding to get better offers, he said. The Cabinet also decided that promoters carrying out the BMIC project will not be entitled to receive more than 20,193 acres as stipulated by the Karnataka High Court in the Somashekar Reddy case.
Further, the promoter will not be entitled to sell any portion of the land allotted for the project.

Bangalore, DHNS: The NICE slammed the move to seek SC’s permission to entrust BMIC project to a new consortium, saying cancellation of an “administrative” agreement could in no way take away from NICE the right to get land for the project. “The tripartite pact was signed only to assign the rights of implementation of the first phase of the project to Nandi Economic Corridor Enterprise Limited... only to facilitate speedier implementation of the project,” a NICE spokesperson said. Ashok Kheny, MD, NICE, said he was unable to comprehend how the State could act against the “wishes of the people and the law of the land”.


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