March 28, 2018

Contractor's Bankruptcy Stalls Projects

The Guwahati Jal Board, which is looking after the ongoing water projects in the city, has asked Guwahati Metropolitan Development Authority to float new tenders for the pipeline works after the Hyderabad-based contractor, IVRCL Pvt Ltd, went bankrupt.
This has further pushed the completion date for the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) assisted South Central Guwahati Water Supply Project in which IVRCL was conducting the pipe laying works by at least one year.
“The entire process of floating the tender again and then waiting for new parties to apply for the tender, conducting the scrutiny of the prospective contractors and then making a selection will take at least a year’s time. It might take more too,” an official of GMDA told G Plus.
The project was commissioned in 2012 and was supposed to be completed in 28 months, but had been missing deadlines ever since - in 2015 and then, December 2017. The current commissioning date was slated for October 2019.
IVRCL had completed about 67% of the pipe laying works so far with 800 kms out of a total of 1,200 kms already laid. The total area of pipeline network is 775 square kms.

The project that had a total budget of Rs 1,636.28 crores – Rs 1,363.28 crore loan from JICA and the rest Rs 273 crores from the state government – when completed will provide 191 million litres of potable water daily in south central Guwahati.
The National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT), Hyderabad had ordered the commencement of a corporate insolvency resolution process against IVRCL on February 23 vide an order – C P (IB) No 294/7/HDB/2017. The tribunal made the copy of the order ready for communication on March 3, 2018.
On March 3, all the assets of the company was handed over to the Interim Resolution Professionals (IRP) vide Section 18 (1) of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 to look into speedy and proper repayment to the company’s corporate debtors.
The IVRCL was rendered bankrupt due to its inability to repay a loan amount of around Rs 600 crores to a public sector bank.
“This was an unexpected development. When this company was awarded the contract, it was one of the best when it came to water supply projects. It was working on several other ongoing projects at that time. Not only will this project get affected, several other projects going on in different parts of the country will also be affected,” S Venkatesan, managing director of Guwahati Metropolitan Water & Sewage Board under the Guwahati Jal Board that is looking over the completion of the project, said.

“We can however contain the damage to a certain extent if we can properly utilise our other contractors and speed up other works. The works for water intake point and construction of reservoir need to be done on war footing and be completed by this monsoon,” Venkatesan added.
Besides IVRCL, other private and government construction agencies such as Gamon India Ltd, M/S IVRCL Infrastructure and Project Ltd, Viswa BRCCPL (Jevi), JWIL Renhill (Jevi), Zindal Show Ltd, Electro Steel Casting Ltd, APDCL and NJS Consultant Company Ltd were also involved in the South Central Guwahati Water Supply Project.
According to the website of the company, IVRCL has completed at least 18 water supply projects in Gujarat, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Kerala, Maharashtra, Telangana, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh.
IVRCL was also working on the Trans Arunachal Highway project – the project for development of roads and highways of Arunachal Pradesh - in which it was widening the existing 2-lane national highway standard roads along with improvement and re-alignment works from Nechipu to Hoj, via Seppa, Khodaso and Saggalee of Arunachal Pradesh.

Besides South Central Guwahati, the JICA is also assisting on the North Guwahati water supply project that will provide 38 million litres daily (MLD) at North Guwahati while the Asian Development Bank is funding South Eastern water supply project that will supply 98 MLD water and the Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission is funding another West Guwahati water project that will supply 107 MLD water. All the projects are awaiting completion.

By -AVISHEK SENGUPTA 

March 21, 2018

Fixing the Road ( Tenders)

A local company was allowed to fix tender prices for the road connecting Mombasa to Miritini, exposing taxpayers to an extra cost of Sh200 million, it has emerged. According to the National Assembly Public Investment Committee (PIC), SS Mehta was given a blank bill of quantities to fill in the price upon which the tender was priced. 

Narok- Mai Mahiu road cut off again This saw the cost of building the road that was initially to cost taxpayers Sh300 million go up to Sh500 million. “A representative of the company met Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) officials at the third-floor boardroom on June 26, 2013, where he had been given the bill of quantities prior to the meeting,” said PIC Chairman Abdul Swamad Nassir (Mvita). 

Repackaged bid He said KeNHA’s decision to award the tender was mired by irregularities after it opted to directly procure the services of Mehta on the pretext of following a presidential directive. Avoid fake news! Subscribe to the Standard SMS service and receive factual, verified breaking news as it happens. Text the word 'NEWS' to 22840 Talewa Road Contractors had been awarded the tender for the road on the stretch where the Standard Gauge Railway terminates, but only managed to complete just over 40 per cent of the works. KeNHA then cancelled the tender and repackaged the bid documents to include Bomu Hospital Road and Changamwe Refinery road to divert traffic and cut congestion.

 The agency boss Peter Mundinia told the committee the authority took the decision as it was hard-pressed to comply with the 100 days rapid result initiative meant to cut the time taken to move cargo from the Mombasa port from 15 days to four days.

By Otiato Guguyu 

Read more at: https://www.standardmedia.co.ke/business/article/2001273908/agency-on-the-spot-for-inflated-road-tender-award-to-firm


March 19, 2018

Highway Tenders

National Highways Authority of India floats tenders for Madurai-Natham highway

By B Anbuselvan  |  Express News Service  |   Published: 19th March 2018 02:36 AM  |  
Last Updated: 19th March 2018 03:41 AM  |   A+A-   |  
WhatsApp_Image_2018-01-25_at_10
Image used for representational purpose (Nagaraja Gadekal | EPS)
CHENNAI: Bharatmala Pariyojana, an umbrella programme launched by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) for developing road infrastructure across country, is all set to take off in Tamil Nadu, with the NHAI having floated tenders to lay 44.3 km four-lane road connecting Madurai and Natham under phase one of the flagship programme recently.
The first four-lane project under Bharatmala includes 7.3 km elevated four-lane bridge connecting the Pandiyan Hotel Junction with Chettikulam and widening the existing 33.4 km two lanes into four lanes from Chettikulam to Natham on the NH 785. The estimate of the road works is pegged at Rs 980.4 crore.
To provide better connectivity for freight and passenger traffic, the Bharatmala Pariyoja programme has been launched by the NHAI to develop about 24,800 road networks across the country. The road development works include widening the existing roads, which record  higher volume of traffic to provide connectivity to ports, development of interstate border roads and linking the industrial corridors with the national highway roads.
Particularly, those national highway roads maintained by the State Highways Department and which carry more than 30,000 vehicles have been chosen for widening into four lanes under the Bharatmala Pariyoja programme.
According to official sources, the Mumbai-Kanniyakumari and Chennai-Madurai sections have been shortlisted for development under economic corridors. In addition, 11 roads that run over 1,106 km across the State have been chosen for development under phase one of the project.
The three feeder roads identified for widening into four lanes under the project were Chennai-Puducherry (137 km), Tirupur-Dindigul (116 km) and Madurai-Natham (38 km).
Some stretches of roads identified already have four lanes and some are maintained by the National Highways Wing of the State government. The Union Ministry of Road Transport recently renumbered these roads and directed the Tamil Nadu government to hand over them to the NHAI for development.
While public consultation for widening the Tirupur-Dindigul road was held recently, the NHAI has floated tenders for building the four-lane road connecting Madurai and Natham on NH-785. “This would be the first project to be taken up under the Bharatmala programme. Land acquisition works have already been initiated,” said an officer.

March 13, 2018

Politics of Road Buliding- The Portughese Way

Malawi: Presidency’s ‘sweetheart contractor’ Mota-Engil grabs the lion’s share of road contracts

It is widely seen as the Malawi presidency’s sweetheart contractor. And a leaked official report lends weight to this perception, showing that Portuguese-based multinational engineering firm Mota-Engil has almost 10 times the value of government road-building contracts as its nearest rival.

This story was supported by the Centre for Investigative Journalism Malawi, in association with the amaBhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism

A report by the Roads Authority (RA) shows that Portuguese-based multinational engineering firm Mota-Engil currently has road contracts in Malawi with a combined value of 142-billion Malawi kwacha (R2.4-billion).

By contrast, the second most-favoured company, Zhajoung of China, is engaged in government road projects worth just K14.9-million (R250-million).

A high-ranking executive from a rival civil engineering company, who asked to remain anonymous, said the feeling among competitors was that Mota-Engil was the principal beneficiary of Malawi government tenders.

“We cannot protest the conduct of government when it comes to awarding these projects to Mota-Engil because the construction industry in Malawi is guided by politics,” the executive said.

Asked for comment, Mota-Engil’s public relations officer, Thomas Chafunya, said any questions should be directed to the Malawi government and the RA.

“We are the bidding and contracted party, but they are the contracting authority and owners of the projects on behalf of Malawi,” he said.

The RA’s public relations manager, Portia Kajanga, insisted that the authority follows the Public Procurement Act.

Kajanga said all donor-funded projects must follow donor requirements and guidelines, meaning that “the RA follows transparent procurement systems – there is no bias in the award of contracts”.

Kanjanga also said the RA manages numerous projects under the government’s recurrent and development programmes.

“Under the development programme, the authority is managing 10 contracts, five of which are being executed by Mota-Engil and the rest managed by different contractors,” she said.

According to the Roads Authority report, Mota-Engil has been contracted to build the Thyolo-Makwasa-Thekerani-Makhanga road, funded to the tune of K27.3-million (R450-million) by the Malawi government, the Kuwait Fund, the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa, the Saudi Fund and Opec.

Construction on the 82km road began in August 2016 and is expected to be completed next year.

The company is also building:

the 95km Lilongwe Old Airport-Kasiya Spur road, costing over K39.6-billion (R670-million), with Malawi government funding. The project, which will take up to 95 months, commenced in January 2015.
The 75km Liwonde-Mangochi road worth K29.9-billion (R450-million), funded by the African Development Bank.
The government-funded 75km Njakwa-Livingstonia Project, which will cost K39-billion (R670-million).
The 4.4km highway from Parliament to the Bingu National Stadium, which will cost MK6.6-billion (R90-million). The funding is from the Malawi government, through the Road Fund.

Mota’s nearest rivals are Zhajoung of China, which the RA report said has work worth MK14.9-billion; China Railway Bridge 5 (MK9.8-million, or R166-million); and Malawian-owned Fargo (MK9.2-billion, or R150-million).

The generous treatment of Mota-Engil follows repeated controversies over its relationship with former president Bingu wa Mutharika, the older brother of Malawi’s current leader, Peter Mutharika.

The brothers were very close. Local media reported that Bingu left Peter K74-million in cash in his will, as well making him co-executor of his estate. He is a key figure in the Bineth Trust, Bingu’s property vehicle.

The Nation newspaper reported that Bingu died in April 2012 “at the height of whispers regarding his relationship with Mota”.

The company reportedly built a villa in Portugal for him called Villa Casablanca, as well the mausoleum of former first lady Ethel Mutharika at his Ndata farm in Thyolo, where he was also buried.

The Nation quoted the company as saying these projects were “donations towards a cause”.

Mota-Engil came under the spotlight in 2012, when The Nation newspaper reported that it had seen three cheques amounting to K13.5-million (about R420 000 at the time) which the company had deposited in Bingu’s personal bank account at the Capital City branch of Standard Bank in Lilongwe. It gave the account number as 0140001886701.

The newspaper reported that the cheques were drawn against Mota-Engil’s Engenhara Eco FMB current account and carried the signature of Mota’s managing director, Antonmarco Zorzi.

Zorzi was quoted as saying that the payments were for copies of The African Dream, Bingu’s book, which he had bought at auction at the book’s launch in February 2011.

The Nation countered that the cheques had been deposited a year earlier than the launch, in March 2010.

Mota’s perceived ties with Bingu were again highlighted in June 2016 by the veteran MP for Mzimba West, Harry Mkandawire, who told the Malawian parliament that Bingu had salted away K61-billion in assets offshore. In 2004, when he became president, Bingu declared K250-million in assets.

In a document tabled in parliament, Mkandawira alleged that the former president received 10% of all payments to Mota on government contracts, and that his offshore assets had been accumulated with the help of “inducements” by the company.

His deceased estate revealed that in addition to Ndata estate, the former president owned six farms in Malawi, four vacant lots and four houses in Blantyre, and vacant land and a house in Harare, Zimbabwe.

Mkandawire said that he had evidence that Bingu had stashed away assets in foreign countries including Australia, the United States, South Africa and Taiwan.

After his sudden death, it was alleged that cash including millions of US dollars was removed from State House. The Malawi Law Society called for a probe of his fortune.

However, President Pete Mutharika angrily challenged Parliament’s public accounts committee to investigate the alleged K61-billion.

He called the allegations “political tactics to torment my family”.

Based on anonymous sources, the Nyasa Times also alleged that Mota is bankrolling a campaign by Agriculture Minister Georg Chaponda to win the presidency next year.

Mutharika has allegedly anointed Chaponda as his successor. The Nyasa Times claimed that the minister refused to grant an interview.

Mota, which has been active in Malawi for more than 20 years, initially entered the country as a road contractor, but its portfolio of contracts has ballooned into new sectors.

In July 2013 the government handed it the management and operation of four ports on Lake Malawi through a concessionary agreement giving it the right to finance, manage and run the ports for a 35-year period.

The Nation reported last year that the contract was awarded without passing through a competitive tender process and violated the Public Procurement Act, as it had not been signed off by the director of public procurement.

The government justified the award by saying no other company was interested. Mota’s chief executive for Africa, Gilberto Rodrigues, was quoted as saying that the approach came from government, adding: “They had a problem and we could be the solution.”

In July 2013 the company built the Nsanje Inland Port, part of the $6-billion Shire-Zambezi waterway project that links Malawi to the Indian Ocean. The port was Bingu Mutharika’s brainchild.

President Mutharika’s press secretary, Mgeme Kalilani, said the responsibility for awarding government road tenders lies squarely with the Roads Authority.

“The presidency, let alone president… Mutharika as an individual has absolutely nothing to do with such processes,” Kalilani said.

“To allege that a company that has been doing business in the country for many years, even before the Mutharika brothers made their names on the local political scene… is a desperate attempt by haters to drag the name of the current president in the mud for malicious reasons.

“Mota-Engil is not winning tenders because it constructed the house of the president’s late brother some years ago.” DM

Source-  By GREGORY GONDWE.

Saudi Rail Event

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 Speaking at the 12th edition of the Middle East Rail 2018, Khalid Al Sultan, vice president - infrastructure, Saudi Railway Company (SAR), covered the company’s railway development plans in context of the country’s Vision 2030. He explained that railway will play a major role in three aspects of development: a cost efficient means of moving goods & freight, a means of moving people as well as aligning with major ports and entry points to ensure seamless infrastructural connectivity.

He also explained in great detail the length and depth of coverage of the country’s three major railway lines including the Riyadh Dammam Line, North-South Project (connecting major heavy industry hubs for freight projects) and the 453-km long Haramain High Speed Railway (HHR) project linking the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah.

Al Sultan also expressed SAR’s keen interest in working with the private sector to collaborate and partner in achieving success in multiple new projects. Of note were Public-Private Partnership (PPP) opportunities for the 340-kilometer dDouble-track Yanbu to Jeddah connection (via King Abdullah Port) and the 40-kilometer double-track Riyadh to Riyadh connection and new Dry-Port (connecting SAR and SRO networks in Riyadh and New Dry Port to be situated outside of Riyadh).

He also mentioned that SAR will soon be floating tenders for the Riyadh-Dammam and the Land Bridge Project. The project consists of a 449-kilometer passenger Line connecting Dammam and Riyadh passing through Al Ahsa and Abqaiq, a 546-kilometer Freight Line connecting King Abdulaziz Port in Dammam with Riyadh passing through Al Ahsa, Abqaiq, Al Kharj, Haradh and Al Tawdhiyah and a 400-kilometer Sub Line connecting industrial, agricultural and military sites with export ports and residential areas.

The Land Bridge extends from Jeddah to Riyadh with a total length of approximately 1000 km of double-track. It also connects with the GCC Railway Network.

Alstom showcases its complete mobility solutions

Alstom is showcasing its complete mobility solutions for urban signaling and services. 

“Alstom has been a reliable partner for the Middle East region since decades,” said Mrs. Thi Mai Tran, managing director of Alstom Gulf. “Alstom’s dedication to the UAE and the Middle East market and to the development of its transport & mobility network which includes Tramways, metro, high speed as well as signaling is confirmed by the number of projects currently in the region. Alstom is looking forward to further re-enforce its commitment to the development of the Middle East mobility sector and economy through participation in the upcoming railway & mobility projects,” added Tran.



The provider of the Dubai Tram and the leader of the ExpoLink consortium for Route 2020 project of the Red Line extension of Dubai Metro have highlighted eight new technologies with the power to transform mobility in the Middle East now – or in the very near future.

Ranging from connected tech to help passengers plan easier, more comfortable journeys, to autonomous last-mile shuttles, next-generation electric buses, and behind-the-scenes management systems to keep the whole transport system running smoothly, each of the innovations is available now to be deployed. When put together, they offer a revolution in smarter, more sustainable mobility for both passengers and operators, and will help rapidly growing cities move and breathe more easily for a better tomorrow.

Among the solutions Alstom will present on its booth, are Alstom’s Urban Integrated solutions; Citadis Range: More than 2,500 Citadis tramway sold in 53 cities; Mastria, the orchestration of all public transport modes from rail to road; Ecodesign: Sustainability in mobility from manufacturing to recycling; Aptis: the premium passenger experience inspired from the tram.


Indian Railways to talk about expansion

Indian Railways, India's national railway system operated by the Ministry of Railways, will talk about $140 billion worth of current and future rail projects that the government is building to upgrade country’s urban transportation network.

Mahesh Kumar Gupta, member engineering - Indian Railway Board, will lead a high-profile delegation of railway officials and experts to share more details about the region’s largest railway network’s expansion plans and future growth prospects, besides outlining a buddle of opportunities that the industry offers in the segments of metro, tram, monorail, long-distance freight and passenger train, and high speed rail.

Gupta, said: “We will highlight some of our achievements, growth prospects and future projections during this two-day event. This kind of events helps in creating awareness about gigantic organizations like Indian Railways, which deals in mega projects such as high speed trains, dedicated freight corridors, electrification, capacity expansion and tech development.”

Indian Railways will also be represented by two of its overseas arms – RITES and IRCON International Limited. While RITES deals in consultancy of transport and infrastructure and export packages of rolling stock, the IRCON is mainly into construction of railway projects.

“These are exciting times for railway industry. There are serious challenges in the road and air transportation sector, hence, the upgradation of the railway infrastructure is the need of the hour. Indian Railways has realized that accumulated backlog investment is the root cause of its inability to improve the market share or quality of services,” said Gupta.

Indian railways aims to concentrate on major investment projects in the areas of dedicated freight corridor, high speed rail, modernization of signaling system, track and rolling stock maintenance with major emphasis on safety. “Our future plan is to focus on electrification, 100% use of LED lights, ETCS level II of signaling and high speed technologies.”

Source- Saudi Gazzette