After Galwan clash, states look to end contracts with Chinese firms
Many state governments are planning to cancel contracts with Chinese companies amid a growing clamour in the country to boycott Chinese products following the death of 20 Indian soldiers in a clash with PLA troops in Ladakh, officials said.
On Saturday, the Haryana government annulled two tenders for installation of flue gas de-sulphurization (FGD) system at their thermal power plants at Hisar and Yamunanagar. The works under the two tenders carried a financial implication of about Rs 780 crore, Haryana government officials said, adding more contracts with Chinese firms would be cancelled in the next few days.
“Uttar Pradesh will not purchase any Chinese equipment for its energy sector,” its power minister, Shrikant Sharma said.
“We will see to it that even the vendors do not supply any goods that are made wholly in China or use any part of it made in China,” he said on Friday, while pointing out that Chinese firms sell cheap solar panels and other electronic goods.
But UP’s minister for industrial development, Satish Mahana, cautioned on Sunday that cancelling contracts with Chinese companies can have legal implications. “Such things (cancellation of Chinese contracts) cannot happen overnight as such deals have legal issues,” he said.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has strongly expressed his sentiments against the use of Chinese goods in wake of the standoff with China at Galwan valley even though Bihar government has not issued any specific order in this regard.
“There is a need for reviewing all the previous trade agreements in a bid to ensure that Chinese products are not used,” Kumar had said at the all-party meeting called by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Bihar industry minister, Shyam Rajak, said there was no role of the state government in banning Chinese products. “Any foreign firm investing in the state has to get clearances from the Centre,” he said.
On Sunday, Uttarakhand instructed officials to list Chinese companies which have been given government contracts. Madan Kaushik, cabinet minister and spokesperson Uttarakhand government said that he has instructed officials to check whether the authorities in the state government have signed any contracts with Chinese authorities or companies in the past.
“After we find whether there are any contracts and if there are, what sort of contracts we have, we will take a decision on whether to cancel them or not,” he said.
Maharashtra government officials said the Centre will have to formulate a policy on investment by Chinese companies before states can decide.
“As far as foreign direct investment (FDI) is concerned, Chinese investment is allowed in the manufacturing, service and real estate sector. If we have to ban them, then the decision has to come from the central government because we need a uniform policy and it should not happen that Chinese investment is allowed in one state and not in another,” said Bhushan Gagrani, principal secretary who is also the state coordination officer to attract investment in the state.
On June 15, the state government signed 12 memorandum of understanding (MoUs) worth Rs 16,300 crore with major global companies, of them three were Chinese firms — Hengli (China), Great Wall Motors (China) and PMI Electro Mobility Solutions, a joint venture with Foton China. Six Chinese companies are involved in infrastructure projects in Mumbai with the 337-km Metro project that is estimated to cost Rs 1 lakh crore.
Earlier this week, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) cancelled the bids to manufacture 10 monorail rakes received from two Chinese companies – CRRC Corporation Ltd and BYD Co Ltd. “As the two Chinese companies were dictating us to change tender conditions, MMRDA has decided to look for technology partners in India. As we do not require large quantities, it is possible for Indian firms to manufacture and supply (the coaches) in less time,” MMRDA metropolitan commissioner RA Rajeev said.
Officials in several governments such as West Bengal, Odisha and Rajasthan, said no decision has been taken to ban Chinese products. “The decision to ban Chinese companies can only be taken by the Centre. Why doesn’t the BJP government snap all trade relations with China? Moreover, no Chinese company has base in West Bengal,” said Dola Sen, TMC Rajya Sabha MP and president of INTTUC, the trade union wing of the TMC.
A Rajasthan government official, who was not willing to be named, said that the issue has not been discussed so far.
Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh police have issued orders asking its personnel to remove Chinese apps from their phones.
The Uttar Pradesh Special Task Force on Friday ordered its staffers to uninstall 52 mobile apps of Chinese origin, pointing that these applications could be used to extract information from their mobile phones and those of their family members. Amitabh Yash, Inspector General (IG) of Police of UP STF a circular had been issued to uninstall 52 Chinese applications in view of the possibility that their usage could lead to unauthorised sharing and stealing of personal data.
Madhya Pradesh police on Friday issued an order instructing all officials to delete 52 Chinese apps from their mobile phones. However, DIG Harinarayanchari Mishra, in another order, on Saturday clarified that deleting the apps was an advisory and not a mandatory requirement.
“Home ministry released lists of different apps from time to time to alert people that their personal data could be compromised on their mobile phones and could be stolen through these apps,” Mishra said in the order.
Protests have been reported from various parts of the country demanding ban on Chinese products. Former RJD MP and chief of Jan Adhikar Party (JAP) Rajiv Ranjan had taken to streets in Patna on Thursday by blackening a hoarding of a Chinese mobile phone company and also exhorted shopkeepers not to sell Chinese goods. In some places, shopkeepers and residents have also burnt Chinese products to protest the Galwan valley clash.