Embassy challenges tender evaluation for BFS redevelopment

The issues surrounding the contract to reconstruct and redevelop the Bangalore Football Stadium continue to linger, two years after the Karnataka State Football Association called for tenders and announced a winning bid.

The contract for the redevelopment of the stadium (in picture) went to Ozone.   -  K. Murali Kumar

The issues surrounding the contract to reconstruct and redevelop the Bangalore Football Stadium continue to linger, two years after the Karnataka State Football Association (KSFA) called for tenders and announced a winning bid.

In July 2015, the KSFA accepted a bid from the consortium of Ozone Group and Hines India, and sought the approval of the Government of Karnataka (something that is still awaited). There were two other bidders: the consortium of Embassy Property Developments and JSW, whose bid was rejected on technical grounds, and the consortium of Tuscan and ECADI, whose bid was smaller than that of the eventual winner.

On Thursday, Embassy challenged the KSFA's decision to award the contract to Ozone, citing various lapses that came to light in the months after the tender evaluation process. "We know that Ozone and Tuscan, although two different legal entities, have identical directors. It's clear cut that it is the same organisation," said Rajesh Bajaj, Director, Embassy.

Two years ago, one of the key reasons that the Embassy-JSW bid had been disqualified was that the consortium had not developed at least two sports stadiums of international standards. "But our competitors haven't done it either," Bajaj pointed out. "Ozone have cited Hines' experience in the area but the two did not have an agreement at the time of submitting the bid. They only had an oral agreement. We may have built no stadiums but we have built many other world-class buildings; it's not rocket science. We were in talks with an international developer of stadiums, and would have brought one on board."

‘Violation’

Embassy's legal head noted that there were more flaws in the tender evaluation process. "They have clubbed the turnover of the two companies, although they are supposed to be different entities, to meet the tender qualification criteria," said A. B. Mandanna. "They have clubbed their experience to meet the requirement of having developed five million square feet. All this is a sheer violation of the Karnataka Transparency in Public Procurement Act."

Mandanna stated that Embassy had written to the Additional Chief Secretary, Urban Development Dept., Govt. of Karnataka twice. "We have written to them on February 27 and sent a reminder on May 24 (2017). We still haven't heard back. We've requested the government to cancel the other tender and give us the contract," he said.

Bajaj was unsure if Embassy's understanding with JSW would be revived. "We don't know yet," he said. "But since this tender process was not carried out in the right spirit, we request the government to reconsider. We should be the automatic choice."

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