Hyderabad: The Hyderabad High Court on Monday told the Telangana government not to enter into any agreement with the company that bags the bid for construction of the Rs 35,000 crore Palamuru-Ranga Reddy lift irrigation scheme (PRLIS) till it clears the doubts as to why it failed to keep in place certain safeguards for the public money in the ongoing tendering process.
The bench of acting Chief Justice Dilip B Bhosale and Justice P Naveen Rao said this while hearing a public interest petition filed by former minister Nagam Janardhan Reddy who charged the state with wilfully deleting certain conditions meant for protecting the public money .
His counsel Y Srinivasa Murthy told the bench that the state despite getting detailed studies done on the project by Engineering Staff College of India (ESCI) and its own Standard Bid Committee, chose not to incorporate in the tender process any conditions and safeguards suggested by these experts. “Allowing public money to be spent like this is dangerous“, he said. Brus hing aside certain technical doubts raised by the registry on maintaining this petition as a public interest petition, the CJ numbered the petition and said, “This is indeed a public interest petition. No doubt in that.“
Though initially the bench was inclined to sail with the arguments of the additional advocate general J Ramachandra Rao that it is the prerogative of the state whether or not to impose any conditions and that individuals cannot dictate to the state as to which conditions to be imposed, however, it later turned critical of the way the irrigation officials are going ahead in the matter. Nagam’s counsel brought to the notice of the court as to how the state had spent Rs 5.7 core for getting the project studied by ESCI experts, approved their detailed project report and had even issued a GO to that effect exclusively to deal with the tendering process. Yet, at the end, it chose to ignore the suggestions of these experts who told the state to put certain conditions on the contractors, Srinivasa Murthy said.Janardhan Reddy , who is now running an outfit called Bachao Telangana Mission (BTM), made the state advisor on lift irrigation schemes as a respondent to the plea. The advisor was one of the authorities who approved the ESCI report.
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