In a new twist to the controversies regarding the Kannur international airport project, the state government on Thursday submitted before the Kerala High Court that it has decided to terminate the project consultancy services agreement entered into with the Mumbai-based STUP Consultants, on the ground that the firm had been blacklisted by the Punjab Infrastructure Development Board.
“KIAL (Kannur International Airport Ltd) is likely to float a fresh tender to select a project consultant. A decision regarding this will be taken in a cabinet meeting to be held in Kochi next week,” Additional Advocate General (AAG) K A Jaleel submitted.
Justice T R Ramachandran Nair recorded the submission and posted the hearing of the case to next week. The court passed the order while considering a petition filed by P M Prakash, general manager of Kochi based MIR Projects and Consultants, seeking a directive to quash the KIAL agreement with the STUP. MIR was the second highest scorer in the bid. MIR submitted that STUP had been blacklisted by Uttarakhand government and the Rajkot municipal corporation.
The AAG submitted that the STUP had violated the Request for Proposal (RFP) conditions. KIAL had invited the RFP with several conditions. It had clearly specified that the company or an entity under them should not have been black listed by Central and state governments.
The STUP had earlier submitted an affidavit to KIAL that it was not blacklisted or disqualified in any other contracts.
“On September, KIAL came to know that STUP had been blacklisted by Punjab government and issued a show-cause notice to them to explain why the agreement should not be cancelled. In reply, the company said that they were initially black listed in 2007 by Punjab government, but this order was set aside by the Punjab and Haryana High Court. However the company was once again blacklisted in 2009,” the state submitted.
The STUP had argued before the Airport Authority that black listing without mentioning a period is against law and therefore invalid. However, KIAL rejected it and found that the company was not eligible to submit tender.