HC urged to dismiss case against desalination plant

Sewerage Board says delay may hit funding for project

July 12, 2018 01:28 am | Updated September 04, 2018 07:19 am IST - CHENNAI

Chennai, 11/4/2008:  Madras High Court  in Chennai on Friday.  Photo: V. Ganesan.

Chennai, 11/4/2008: Madras High Court in Chennai on Friday. Photo: V. Ganesan.

The Chennai Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board (CMWSSB) has urged the Madras High Court to dismiss a writ petition filed against the tender called for establishing a 150 MLD (million litres per day) sea water reverse osmosis desalination plant to be set up at Nemmeli on the East Coast Road here at a cost of ₹1,259.38 crore.

In a counter affidavit filed before Justice T. Raja who was seized of the writ petition filed by a private firm from Ranchi, the Board said, the desalination plant was a prestigious and important project being funded by Kreditanstalt fur Wideraufbau (KfW), a German funding agency, and delay in implementation could lead to cancellation of the funding.

During the course of arguments, Advocate General Vijay Narayan told the court that CMWWSB had entered the field of desalination of sea water a few years ago. A 100 MLD SWRO desalination plant at Kattupalli in Minjur got commissioned in July 2010 and has been supplying water to northern and central parts of Chennai.

One more 100 MLD SWRO plant at Nemmeli was commissioned in February 2013 and it had been supplying water to around 10 lakh people in Velacherry, Pallipattu, Tiruvanmiyur, Kottivakkam, Palavakkam, Neelankarai, Sholinganallur and the IT corridor locations.

Third project

The 150 MLD plant under question in the present litigation was the third project of CMWSSB.

He contended that the petitioner firm had no locus standi to file the present case since it had not filed any bid for the proposed desalination plant.

“When the petitioner firm has not been denied or deprived of a legal right and has not sustained injury to any legally protected interest, it is not an aggrieved party to file a writ petition,” he argued.

He also said the petition had been filed on the basis of a wrong premise as if the bids of five short listed firms were rejected and yet attempts were now being made to handover the contract to one of those firms. The AG made a categoric statement that CMWSSB had so far, neither accepted nor rejected any of the five short listed bids.

Contending that the present case was causing further delay in finalising the bidder, the A-G requested the court to dismiss the case at the earliest so that the establishment of the plant could begin soon.

After hearing him as well as the counsel for the petitioner firm, the judge said that he shall pass orders in the case on Friday.

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