S. Rajendran

It means land will not be available at 10 interchanges for the company

The Cabinet decided to restrict the land made over for the project to 20,193 acres

Project should be in accordance with the directions of the courts: Kumaraswamy

BANGALORE: The Karnataka Government on Thursday decided to nullify an agreement signed in August 2002 with the Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprise (NICE), promoter of the Bangalore-Mysore Expressway Project. With the annulment of the agreement, the land at 10 major interchanges along the proposed expressway will not be available to the NICE.

The coalition government, in accordance with the directions of the Karnataka High Court and the Supreme Court, was keen on restricting the scope of the project to the terms of the original framework agreement signed between NICE and J.H. Patel Government in April 1997.

At a meeting on Thursday, the Cabinet decided to restrict the land made over for the project to 20,193 acres, as per the terms of the original agreement.

Sources told The Hindu that the agreement “reportedly entered into in August 2002 had several insertions” which were not part of the one approved by the S.M. Krishna Cabinet. An important part of the 2002 agreement (which was initially proposed to enable the NICE to obtain certain concessions from the Union Government) related to the grant of land at the interchanges along the expressway that was not part of the original framework agreement of 1997.

With the Karnataka High Court and the Supreme Court directing that the expressway project be in accordance with the framework agreement, the Cabinet has decided to nullify the agreements entered into at a later date.

Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy told The Hindu that the Government was not against the expressway project per se. But the project should be in accordance with the directions of the courts.

The annulling of the agreement clause signed on August 9, 2002, is expected to bring the project to a grinding halt.

Global tenders

Meanwhile, Global Infrastructure Consortium’s proposal was placed before the Cabinet meeting on Thursday. However, sources in the Government said the next step of calling for global tenders to execute the expressway project would be based on the directions of the Supreme Court.

As and when the global tenders were called, it would be open for the NICE to submit its proposal.

If another company wins the project, it will have to pay the NICE for the expenditure incurred so far in the execution of the project.

The State Cabinet at a recent meeting approved a new infrastructure policy incorporating salient features of the Swiss Challenge method under which long-pending projects could be handed over to new contractors for speedy execution.

A senior official of the KIADB was recently suspended on the charge of unilaterally granting permission to the NICE to execute sale deeds.

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