The state government’s bid to develop 10 select bus stations of the UP State Road Transport Corporation (UPSRTC) as modern terminals-cum-multistorey commercial complexes in the public-private partnership (PPP) mode has failed to take off for now.
The bids that the UPSRTC invited last month for the ambitious Rs. 20,000 project (each bus station requiring Rs. 2,000 crore investment) has virtually drawn a blank.
The bid evaluation subcommittee headed by the principal secretary, transport, opened the technical bids on Monday evening and was taken aback to find there was only one proposal.
As the UPSRTC has shelved the process and proposed to the government to begin the exercise fresh.
“We received the lone bid from an Indore-based company,” UPSRTC chief general manager, administration, Rajendra Kumar Singh told Hindustan Times.
He said the corporation had sent the proposal to the high-level committee headed by the industrial development commissioner (IDC) suggesting the bids be invited afresh.
The investors’ extremely poor response to the project proposal is being seen as a big setback to the state government that is trying hard to bring private investment to Uttar Pradesh.
The importance that the government attached to the meticulously planned bus station development project can be gauged from the fact that the housing department had to make changes in its existing bylaws to make the project more attractive for the investors and chief secretary Jawed Usmani was regularly monitoring the progress of the proposed scheme, setting a timeline for its completion.
In fact, nobody in the government or the UPSRTC had even imagined that the otherwise lucrative project could ever get such a poor response from the investors. “We are simply shocked,” said an official
Sources in the government claimed that the continuing poor law and order situation that worsened with by the Muzaffarnagar riots had made the private investors edgy and they were not able to gather the courage to risk their money here.
“Big Investors were already shying away from investing in UP because of the poor law and order situation and the Muzaffarnagar riots and the prevailing tension in the state has just scared them away,” explained another official, adding, “The ambitious bus development project has become victim of the same fear.”
Agreeing to this observation, yet another official said the possibility of the worldwide economic slowdown contributing to the poor response could not be ruled out.