Madras High Court puts on hold commissioning of desalination plant in Chennai; postpones hearing till 1 October

Chennai: The Madras High Court has restrained Chennai Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board from issuing work order to successful bidder of the contract for construction of third desalination plant at Nemmeli till further orders.

Justice V Bharathidasan gave the interim order on Tuesday on the petition by Suez International, a French company seeking to declare it as the only technically qualified bidder in the tender floated by the Chennai Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board (CMWSSB) for construction of the 150 MLD plant.

 Madras High Court puts on hold commissioning of desalination plant in Chennai; postpones hearing till 1 October

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The petitioner also sought the court to restrain CMWSSB from opening the price bid till the disposal of the plea.

When advocate general Vijay Narayan informed the court that the bid has been already opened as scheduled, the judge said, "Having regard to the dispute raised by the petitioner and considering the fact that price bids were already opened, CMWSSB is directed to proceed with the tender process and declare the result of the tender but not to issue any work order to the successful bidder until final disposal of the plea."

The judge also directed the board to file its counter by 1 October and posted the matter for hearing to that date.

The petitioner submitted that in the earlier round of litigation in connection with the tender process, CMWSSB had filed a counter stating that the petitioner, Cobra Instalaciones Y Servicios, and Tecton Engineering & Construction were only found eligible to take part in the tender.

However, contrary to its statement made before this court through a counter, CMWSSB now said that one more tenderer has been considered qualified, the petitioner claimed and sought a court direction to the authorities not to open the bids until the present plea was disposed of.

To this, the Attorney General submitted that as per the report of the technical committee, metro water had earlier informed the court that only three firms including the petitioner were considered technically qualified to participate in the tender.

The board has now found one more tenderer as technically qualified and after having obtained concurrence with the funding agency, the tender of the newly qualified firm has been taken up for consideration.

This apart, the price bids were already opened as scheduled on Tuesday, therefore, there is no questioning of staying the process of opening, he added.

Updated Date: Sep 26, 2018 18:06:57 IST