RSS-affiliate organization protests against BJP for awarding construction project to Chinese firm

The Swadeshi Jagran Manch said that Shanghai Tunnel Engineering Co. Ltd which was the lowest bidder, shouldn’t be awarded the contract

Swadeshi Jagran Manch’s national co-convener Ashwani Mahajan | Photo: Suraj Singh Bisht


At a time when tensions are mounting between India and China, citizens are calling for the boycott of Chinese goods, the Prime Minister is calling for an ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ (self-reliant India) and the promotion of local companies, Chinese firm Shanghai Tunnel Engineering Co. Ltd (STEC) has emerged to be the lowest bidder for the construction of the 5.6 km underground section between New Ashok Nagar and Sahibabad of the Delhi-Meerut RRTS (Regional Rapid Transit System), various media reports cited.

This essentially means that though the bid was under evaluation, the National Capital Region Transport Corporation (NCRTC), a joint sector company of the Government of India and the states of Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi, would end up awarding the design and construction of twin tunnels from New Ashok Nagar to Sahibabad and an underground station at Anand Vihar to STEC.

Metro Rail News reported that according to a disclosure by the National Capital Region Transport Corporation (NCRTC), five national and multinational companies had submitted their financial bids for the project, the details of which are:

  • Shanghai Tunnel Engineering Co. Ltd. (STEC): Rs 1,126 crore (L-1)

  • Larsen & Toubro Ltd. (L&T): Rs 1,170 crore (L-2)

  • Gülermak Agir Sanayi Insaat ve Taahhut A.S. (Gulermak): Rs 1,326 crore (L-3)

  • Tata Projects Ltd.- SKEC JV: Rs 1,346 crore (L-4)

  • Afcons Infrastructure Ltd.: Rs 1,400 crore (L-5)

While STEC belongs to China, L&T and Afcons Infrastructure are Indian companies headquartered in Mumbai. Tata Projects is also an Indian company which is in a joint venture with SK Engineering & Construction which is a South Korean firm for the bid, while Gülermak Ağır Sanayi Insaat ve Taahhut is a Turkish construction and contracting company.

As per this development, STEC has to complete the tunneling work within 1,095 days as soon as the NCRTC issues it a Letter of Acceptance (LOA) once the bid has been evaluated.

However, the news of this contract has met with heavy objection by so-called nationalist organizations and citizens alike. In light of this, Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM) an affiliate of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) which backs swadeshi or indigenous initiatives, has put forth its views demanding that the BJP government at the Centre cancel the financial bid of the STEC keeping in line with its ‘self-reliant India’ ideology and award the tender to a domestic company instead.

Speaking to the Print, SJM National Co-Convener Ashwani Mahajan explained that the organization asked Nitin Gadkari, Road Transport and Highways Minister, to cancel the bid over two issues.

“First is, when we are promoting ‘Atma Nirbhar Bharat’ to encourage domestic companies, how can the government award contracts to a Chinese company? Second is security and quality issues. After the Covid pandemic, the trust factor is one of the major concerns with Chinese firms. We have earlier opposed Huawei participation in 5G trials on security issues and now we are pitching for the domestic industries,” Mahajan told The Print.

He added, “Earlier also, the Government of India rejected several tenders to promote the ‘Make in India’ programme. This is the perfect opportunity to promote domestic companies even if their quote is slightly higher. Also, we can’t trust the Chinese any more. We are attracting investments from other countries. If we will award contracts to them, how the concept of making India self-reliant will work.”

SJM has also begun a ‘Boycott China’ campaign urging people to stop promoting Chinese brands and governments from importing Chinese goods, apart from inviting tenders from Chinese companies. For this, SJM also held a protest along with some Army veterans outside the Chinese Embassy in Delhi on June 17, 2020 which resulted in the detention of some protestors by the Delhi Police.



While the SJM is protesting the bid with full fervour and the citizens have erupted in anguish over the same given the escalations between India and China, it doesn’t seem that the NCRTC is going to budge from its stand. An official speaking to The Print categorically ruled out the chance of rejecting STEC’s bid unless it was found that they had adopted “unfair means” for the same.

It is ironical that while the PM and members of the Centre engaged in pomp and show to promote the Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan and push Indian companies to better the economy post the Covid-19 lockdown, it has once more backtracked on its words thus bringing to the fore its audacity to lie to the citizens and display its powerlessness in getting its act on track.



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