Ministerial panel to verify Chinese firm’s credentials for Wular Dredging

A ministerial panel of the J&K government on Tuesday decided to verify the credentials of a Chinese company, which is part of the joint venture emerging as the lone contender for the multi-crore Wular Lake dredging project.
A source told Kashmir Post that the panel, which met here this afternoon, decided to do the background check of the China-based Hubei Hongyan Engineering Company Limited before taking a final call on awarding the contract.

“The panel might even ask the state government to write to the Chinese embassy in New Delhi for information,” he said.
Reach Dredging Limited, a Kolkata-based firm, in a joint venture with the Hubei Hongyan Engineering Company Limited, is in fray to bag the Wular dredging project.
The foreign company, according to tender documents, is headquartered at Wuhan City in Hubei province of China.

The joint venture has put a bid of Rs 376 crore for dredging the lake. However, it has agreed to pay Rs 201 crore for the willow trees it will extract from the water body.
Last week, the government had constituted the seven-member ministerial committee to decide on the bid.
Lal Singh (forest minister), Syed Altaf Bukhari (minister for education), Sajjad Gani Lone (minister for social welfare), Imran Raza Ansari (minister for youth services and sports) and Chering Dorjee (minister for cooperatives) attended today’s meeting. Two other members of the committee, Haseeb Drabu (minister for finance) and Sham Choudhary (minister for PHE), did not turn up for the meeting.
Interestingly, the Reach Dredging Limited has failed to complete the dredging of river Jehlum within the stipulated time frame.
In the wake of 2014 floods, the government had awarded the contract to dredge river Jehlum to the Reach Dredging Limited but the firm’s performance has been criticised.
In the past two-and- a-half years, the incumbent regime has failed to take any effort for conserving the Wular Lake, one of Asia’s largest fresh water lakes.
It has failed to spend Rs 14 crore earmarked under the 13th Finance Commission award for the lake. Another Rs 60 cr has been earmarked under the Prime Minister’s Development Package for lake but not released yet.
As per the directory of the wetlands of India, the area of the lake is 189 sq km. However as per revenue records, its area is 130 sq km. It is the natural flood basin for river Jehlum.

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