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Poll panel puts brakes on NICE

Staff Correspondent

Decision taken based on report published in The Hindu on May 5

MANGALORE: The Election Commission on Thursday directed the State Government to cancel its decision in favour of Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprises Ltd. as the implementing agency of the controversial Bangalore-Mysore Infrastructure Corridor project.

The decision taken by the Executive Committee headed by Governor Rameshwar Thakur, at its meeting on April 25, has been put on hold till May 28.

Chief Election Commissioner N. Gopalaswami, referring to a report in The Hindu on May 5 in this regard, told presspersons here on Thursday that the decision of Executive Committee (which acts as the Cabinet during President’s Rule) was a violation of the model code of conduct. “The commission has directed the Government not to take any decision on this issue till May 28, when the election process gets over,” he said.

The Executive Committee, at its meeting on April 25, overturned the August 30, 2007 decision of the H.D. Kumaraswamy government to cut NICE out of the BMIC project and invite fresh bids in a global tender to implement the project.

The committee’s order states that it is “partially modifying” four earlier Cabinet decisions that imposed severe restrictions on NICE to alienate any portion of the project land.

It had authorised the Empowered Committee, headed by the Chief Secretary, to take immediate steps to implement the project in association with NICE for the “amicable settlement of disputes” and submit its proposals to the Executive Committee. These decisions virtually nullified the global tenders invited by the Public Works Department on September 17, 2007, based on the decision of previous Government.

Supreme Court decision

The Supreme Court, acting on NICE’s petition, on September 27, 2007, stayed the tender process. All these have not been made public by the Executive Committee.

Mr. Gopalaswami said the commission had taken note of the newspaper report and issued the direction on Thursday. Election Commissioners S.Y. Quraishi and Naveen Chawla and Chief Electoral Officer M.N. Vidyashankar were present.

No decision

Bangalore Staff Reporter writes:

The Empowered Committee, which met on Wednesday, could not take any major decision on the controversial project as it received a show-cause notice issued by the Election Commission of India (ECI) even as the meeting was in progress.

Sources in the Secretariat said the meeting, chaired by Chief Secretary Sudhakar Rao, ended abruptly.

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