After much controversy, the Andhra Pradesh government on Wednesday informed the Hyderabad High Court that it was withdrawing the tenders issued for construction of the core area of its upcoming capital Amaravati.
The HC was hearing a petition by a Hyderabad-based construction company challenging the state government's technical eligibility criteria and the process to submit bids under the Swiss Challenge method for the construction of Amaravati.
The state reportedly said that fresh tenders would be issued.
"We will do it in accordance with the recent amendments brought to the AP Infrastructure Act. The state wants to redo the exercise" TOI quotes AP's advocate general Dammalapati Srinivas as saying.
The Times of India also reported:
Non-disclosure of the revenue share offered by the Singapore consortium was quoted as a major lapse by the petitioners and the single judge found logic in their contention. Later, the state filed an appeal against the single judge order and the bench headed by acting CJ is hearing claims and counter claims. In this backdrop, AP's advocate general informed the court that the state was not interested to proceed further with the present notification.
In September, following a petition filed by Aditya Housing and NVN Engineers challenging the government's decision to adopt the Swiss Challenge model, Justice MS Ramachandra Rao of the Hyderabad HC, had stayed the process and directed the state to file its response.
Last year in June, the state cabinet approved the model for awarding the capital city's development project to the Singapore consortium of Ascendas-Singbridge and Sembcorp Development Ltd.
The government had subsequently floated a special purpose vehicle (SPV) – Amaravati Development Company – to take up various works for construction of the greenfield capital city on the banks of the Krishna river in Guntur district.
The Singapore consortium has a 58% stake in the SPV, while the remaining 42% is held by the Andhra Pradesh government.
In the case before the High Court, the selection of the developer for a 6.84-sq km start-up area in the upcoming capital of Amaravati is under question.
The petitioners are not arguing against the concept of the method, but rather it's implementation in this case and the alleged secrecy surrounding the contracts.
In an earlier session of the court, the counsel for the Aditya Housing Company argued that the state was conceding to the demands of foreign companies and keeping details of the construction contract under wraps.