S. Rajendran

International consortium also to provide monorail at a cost of Rs. 1,700 crore

State Government alleges NICE interested in profiteering from illegal sale of land

BANGALORE: The Karnataka Government has sought the permission of the Supreme Court to exercise its contractual rights in the execution of the Bangalore-Mysore Expressway project by the Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprise (NICE) in light of an international consortium suo motu offering to undertake the construction of the Expressway and also construct a mono-rail along the expressway free of cost.

In an additional affidavit filed before the Supreme Court on Friday, the State Government has provided details relating to the proposal submitted to it by the international consortium.

Hearing tomorrow

The hearing in the case between the Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprise (NICE) which is executing the project and the State Government is scheduled to be heard on Monday.

The execution of the Bangalore-Mysore Expressway project, which has been going on for over a decade (since 1994), has come to a grinding halt following several litigatons between the State Government and NICE. Among other things, the company has also filed a contempt petition against the State Government.

In the additional affidavit filed through its counsel Sanjay Hegde, the State Government said the proposal submitted by the new consortium not only enhances the value of the project by providing an additional infrastructure in terms of a mono rail at a cost of Rs. 1,700 crore but also diluted the various obligations of the Government in a manner which would be much more beneficial to the State and the people. It said the land not required for the implementation of the project would fetch the State Government an enormous amount of Rs. 30,000 crore which the State could channelise in developing public infrastructure and for carrying out other welfare activities.

The State Government has told the apex court that it cannot impose penalties on the petitioner company (NICE) for delays caused by it in the implementation of the project which has resulted in the project being delayed by 12 years from the date of signing the framework agreement. In the case of the new consortium, it has proposed self-imposed penalties by undertaking to achieve financial closure within 18 months of signing the agreement and to pay the State government a penalty of Rs. 3 lakh for each day of delay.

Further, the consortium has proposed a seven year period from the date of financial closure to complete the entire corridor project subject to the terms and conditions of the framework agreement. The State Government has also alleged that NICE was only interested in profiteering from the illegal sale of land rather than executing the project.

In a parallel development, the Karnataka cabinet recently approved a new infrastructure policy “Swiss challenge method” aimed at a transparent and speedy implementation of infrastructural projects. Should the State Government receive the approval of the Apex Court, then it would subject the Expressway project as per the Swiss challenge method.