Dharavi redevelopment: Seclink Tech drags Maha govt to International Court of Arbitration, Bombay HC

Dubai-based Seclink Technologies Corporation has moved the International court of arbitration in Geneva, along with the Bombay High Court, against the Maharashtra government's decision to scrap the Dharavi redevelopment tendering process. The company emerged as the highest bidder,quoting a price of Rs 7,500 crore, as against Adani Group, the second bidder, which quoted Rs 4,529 crore.

Requesting not to be named, a top member of Seclink Tech confirmed the latest development and said, "We have moved both the courts against the Maharashtra government as they scrapped the tendering process wrongly. It was not a fair and transparent process by the government, and so we are unhappy. We offered them the highest price for developing Dharavi and turned out to be the topmost bidder. We were supposed to receive a letter of acceptance, but in the last two years they failed to do so."

The matter is likely to be heard by the Bombay High Court on Tuesday, while it is expected to come up for hearing before the International court of Arbitration in another 15-20 days.

In the state cabinet meeting led by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray in October 2020 it was decided to scrap the much awaited Dharavi Redevelopment tendering process and issue fresh tenders once again. An official statement from the State government also stated it had acted upon the recommendations of the Advocate General. Moreover, a committee of secretaries (CoS) led by Chief Secretary Sanjay Kumar had recommended the same.

Issues related to the tendering process and awarding of contract emerged after the previous Devendra Fadnavis-led BJP-Shiv Sena coalition government had sought the AG’s opinion after a 45-acre plot at Matunga of the Railways was agreed to be included as part of the project. The AG had then recommended that the entire tender process be conducted again.

The Dharavi Redevelopment Project is pegged at around Rs 28,000 crore, and is believed to be one of the biggest housing projects in the country. Situated in the heart of Mumbai, Dharavi is one of the biggest slums of Asia and its redevelopment is pending for the last 16 years. The scrapping of the tendering process has further upset the residents of Dharavi, who are also reportedly planning to take legal action against the government by moving court to scrap the government resolution (GR) of February 2004 which does not allow anyone to submit a proposal under the slum redevelopment scheme.

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