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Thursday, Nov 14, 2019

Oh dam! Gargai work will need security nod from home ministry

mumbai Updated: Nov 07, 2019 23:58 IST
Mehul R Thakkar
Mehul R Thakkar
Hindustantimes
         

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) will now have to seek security clearance from the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to appoint a consultant for construction of Gargai dam in Palghar district. Reason? Of the four bids, one each is from Turkey and China; both need approval of the Centre. The remaining two bidders are firms from India.

India fell out with Turkey recently after it publicly condemned the abolition of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir. Countering this, India expressed concerns about Turkey’s military exercise in north-east Syria, stating it has the potential to cause humanitarian and civil distress. The Indian Embassy in Turkish capital Ankara, too, had issued a travel advisory claiming Indians should exercise utmost caution. In case of China, India has been exercising caution while awarding civil construction contracts. Chinese firms that bid for the Mumbai Trans-Harbour Link between Mumbai and Navi Mumbai, along with Bandra-Versova sea link, were denied security clearance in the past two years. The coastal road project, which had firms from outside India, along with China working on it, got the security nod. The Gargai dam will be built across 849 hectares in Oghade village in Palghar district on Gargai river, a tributary of Vaitarna river. The project involves construction of the dam, and connecting it to the Modak Sagar dam, which already supplies water to Mumbai. The BMC wants to appoint a firm which will prepare bidding documents and act as a project management consultant during the construction period. “The four bidders are a Turkey-based firm, Dolsar Engineering, in joint venture with Tata Consulting Engineers and a Chinese firm; Powerchina Chengdu Engineering Corporation Limited, in joint venture with Geodata India Private Limited; and two Indian firms SMEC International and Lombardi Engineering India Private Limited. We have opened their technical bids for now, but financial bids will be opened after getting security clearance.”

The MHA will consult the intelligence bureau and the ministry of external affairs before granting security nod. Once Gargai dam is constructed, it will supply about 440 million litres of water to the city every day. Mumbai’s water needs are likely to rise from 3,750 million litres daily (MLD) currently to 4,849 MLD by 2021, 5,320 MLD by 2031, and 6,424 MLD by 2041.