‘We want foreign horses, not local donkeys’

  • AP AG in Swiss Challenge case

Hyderabad: Dammalapati Srinivas, Advocate General of Andhra Pradesh government had unwittingly described the local marketing experts as donkeys and people from Singapore as race horses. He was arguing in Hyderabad High Court in Swiss Challenge case defending the decision of the TDP government to opt for the Swiss Challenge method in the Captial Region Development Area (CRDA) in Amaravati. He said it is important to construct buildings and other facilities, which the local engineers can do, but it is more important to market the facilities  at which our people are not so good. In his attempt to underscore the point, the Advocate General described the local marketing experts as donkeys. The Division Bench consisting of Ramesh Ranganathan and U Durga Prasad Rao burst into laughter and commented that the donkeys do a better job. ‘The donkey work hard and they carry more burden than the horses’, they quipped. Reacting to the comments passed by the judges, Srinivas reiterated that the AP government needs horses and not donkeys.

It may be recalled that single judge of HC MS Ramachandra Rao issued a stay on the Swiss Challenge process on Septer 12. The Chief Secretary of the Municipal Administration department of AP government and Commissioner, CRDA filed two different petitions praying the court to vacate the stay and squash the original petition. The Division Bench had resumed hearing in the case on Thursday after the vacation. The Bench asked why there was need to mention that experience of construction in foreign countries is necessary to participate in the tender process. The AG replied that foreign companies do faster and better job in marketing compared to the local companies. Creating employment and marketing are the two important aspects in Swiss Challenge method and the foreign companies are good at this, he argued. There was not a single competitive bid to counter the suomottu proposal submitted by the Singapore Consortium, the AG averred.

Senior advocate D Pratap Reddy appeared for the petitioner Aditya Construction Company. He asked if the government would accept an alternative proposal from some other company which offers to create more jobs and do better marketing but has lower income. In the conditions proposed in the procedure, the income share is important. That was why the single judge asked the government to divulge the income component of the Singapore Consortium, Pratap Reddy said. The CRDA officials did not respond to the letters of the petitioner asking for the income details of the Singapore Consortium, he complained. It was only to facilitate the Singapore Consortium that the condition of experience of construction in foreign country was included, he alleged. Prestigious companies which constructed wonderful structures in the country were made ineligible with this single condition, Pratap Reddy pointed out. Hearing was postponed to the 17th, Monday.

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