The Madras High Court has given a green signal to the Tamil Nadu government to set up the desalination plant at Nemmeli to tide over the drinking water crisis in the state.
Justice T Raja gave the go-ahead after dismissing a petition from Singh Electricals & Constructions in Ranchi, seeking extension of time to place his bid.
The judge, in his order, said, "The Chennai Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board has not declared and entrusted the project of designing and building the 150 MLD sea water reverse osmosis desalination plant in favour of any bidder."
Justice T Raja said the petitioner has not been affected as he had not submitted the bid and had not participated in the tender. Therefore, the petitioner has no legal right to question the respondents, particularly when no final decision has been taken on the bid till now, the judge said and dismissed the petition.
The Chennai Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board plans to set up the 150 MLD sea water Reverse Osmosis desalination plant at a cost of Rs 1,259.38 crore.
The project will have shared funding from KfW, a German funding agency, to the tune of Rs 700 crore and Rs 559.38 crore by the Tamil Nadu government under AMRUT.
The tender was floated on November 10, 2016 fixing January 19, 2017 as the last date for submission of the bids. Thereafter, the period was repeatedly extended to September 9, 2017.
After eight extensions, the petitioner, who purchased the tender document only on August 28, 2017 two days before the due date of August 31, 2017 and did not submit its bid before the last date and sought extension of time.
As this was refused, the judge moved court, seeking a direction for extension of time for the bid submission beyond September 15, 2017.
But the court refused to grant extension. The petitioner submitted that he was also interested in quoting for the tender floated by the respondents to design and build the desalination plant.
Justice T Raja said if the petitioner was really interested in participating in the bid, he should have tendered its bid after getting all doubts cleared from the board well in advance and submitted the tender prior to the deadline.
As this was not done, the petitioner has no locus standi to challenge the impugned tender now, the judge said.