Union Minister Nitin Gadkari (PTI photo)
NEW DELHI: No Chinese company will be allowed to participate in any future highway project and companies entering into joint venture (JV) with any firm from China will also be banned from bidding for projects, road transport and MSME minister Nitin Gadkari said on Wednesday.
Talking to TOI, the minister said he has approved the policy and also asked highway secretary Girdhar Aramane to revise the bidding norms for projects to enable more Indian companies to participate in the tender process.
“Our focus is to encourage Indian companies to take up more work. However, foreign companies can also participate for technology and consultancy-related works. But there also, we won’t entertain any Chinese player directly or indirectly,” Gadkari said.
The minister, who had first talked about growing discontent among global investors against China due to the coronavirus pandemic, said his ministry is not touching already awarded projects and other works to avoid “litigations”. “If we revisit old contracts, there will be litigation. So, the decision will be applicable for all future tenders. I have instructed officials to take necessary steps,” he said.
Sources said the tender norms have to be tweaked to bar any Chinese player or investment. It’s not yet clear whether any of the active tenders will also be scrapped where Chinese companies are bidding in any form.
Meanwhile, NHAI has put the bid of a Chinese firm on hold in one of the stretches of Delhi-Mumbai corridor. Sources said there is every probability of the bid by the Chinese company being nixed. “Since the work has not been awarded. It won’t be a problem,” said a source.
The move comes in the wake of the government’s decision to ban 59 Chinese Apps amid heightened tensions between India and China as troops of the two countries remain locked in a stand-off in Ladakh and last month’s violent clashes at the border.
Gadkari said even in the MSME sector, Chinese investors won’t be entertained. “We will work on alternative technology to bring down the cost to be competitive so there is no need to import Chinese products. The government decision to increase duty on incence stick (agarbatti) has created lakhs of new jobs. Earlier, Chinese imports dominated this market. We have also ramped up production of PPE kits for which we were dependent on China earlier,” he said.