SHC stays coal excavation tender

KARACHI: Sindh High Court (SHC) has stayed the awarding of tender for digging coal from Thar Coal Block-II. A single bench comprising Justice Muneeb Akhtar issued an stay order on a lawsuit filed by a private firm, Reliance Consultancy and Engineering Works, who have taken chief secretary, secretary coal and energy development, Thar Coal Energy Board (TCEB) and Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC) to the court for allegedly awarding a tender for excavation of coal in violation of rules.

The bench issued notice to defendants and adjourned the hearing of the case till February 6.

Plaintiff, a private firm represented by advocate Naeem Iqbal, submitted that SECMC invited applications for tender for working on “Development & Construction of Open Cast Lignite Mine in Thar Block-II” from reputed local and international contractors for pre-qualification. He said that he submitted all pre-qualification relevant documents required by SECMC.

He stated that his company has vast experience of working in Thar area and had already undertaken various projects there, adding that he was prequalified by the SECMC for having technical expertise, financial position and past experience in Thar area.

He said that when bids were opened on 06 January, the bid made by him was far lowest from others. He told the court that later he was informed through a letter issued on 24 January that bid made by him was rejected due to non-conformity with certain technical requirements, which was violation of the rules and regulations.

He lamented that such objections were unjustified and contrary to the technical requirements as he was more qualified than other contractors. Plaintiff said that defendant SECMC is bent upon awarding contract to some other contractors irrespective of much higher rates and past experience in coalfield.

He pleaded the court to declare the rejection of his bid illegal and restrain defendants from awarding contract to any other contractor.