According to livemint.com, the Union government-controlled Mumbai port and Jawaharlal Nehru (JN) port are sparring over sharing costs for a channel-deepening project for a common navigational channel, potentially delaying the award of contract to Dutch dredging firm Royal Boskalis Westminster NV.
Royal Boskalis had emerged as the lowest bidder for the work on 18 June by quoting Rs.1,219.8 crore which is lower than the budget of Rs.1,571.6 crore approved by the cabinet committee on infrastructure.
Livemint.com reports that though JN port had initiated the project, a major portion of the work on deepening and widening of Mumbai harbour and JN port channel falls within the channel belonging to Mumbai port.
“The cost sharing agreed then needs to be reviewed because of cost escalation and also because Mumbai port will stand to benefit from the channel-deepening project,” a spokesman for JN port said.
“JN port has asked us to share 50% of the project cost, which we have rejected outright,” said a spokesman for Mumbai port. “It’s their (JN port) project. We have agreed to share one-eighth of the cost, which is a bonus for them. Now they are becoming greedy,” he said, adding that the port was not in favour of raising its earlier-agreed contribution for the project designed to give larger ships access to JN port.
The dredging work covers an area of 33km, out of which 26km is in Mumbai harbour and the balance in JN port channel.
The project has been delayed by at least four years and is now slated to be completed by 2014 instead of the earlier estimate of 2010, if an earlier auction had gone through.
Dredging Today Staff, July 9, 2012