In the ongoing tussle between the Congress party and the ruling BJP over industrialist Gautam Adani, the grand old party has now alleged favouritism and bypassing of rules by Maharashtra government in allotting the Dharavi redevelopment project to the Adani Group.
Varsha Gaikwad, the Mumbai Congress president, has raised concerns over the Maharashtra government’s decision to appoint Adani Properties Pvt. Ltd as the ‘Lead Partner’ for the Dharavi redevelopment project. Gaikwad criticised the government for disregarding widespread opposition and apprehensions regarding the financial integrity of the Adani group, as well as the transparency and fairness of the tendering process.
Gaikwad also raised questions over allotment of the project to Adani group and alleged favouritism and blatant bypassing of rules to give the tender to Adani Group.
“Ignoring widescale opposition & concerns regarding the financial integrity & stability of the Adani group and sidestepping serious questions over the transparency, fairness and the competitiveness of the tendering process, this ‘Mitr’ centric government is hell bent on letting the crisis-hit conglomerate redevelop Dharavi, which happens to be the world’s largest project of its kind. Dharavi is being made a scapegoat to benefit a ‘struggling’ friend of the BJP,” Gaikwad said.
Gaikwad revealed that she has been actively communicating her concerns to the Chief Minister of Maharashtra, @CMOMaharashtra, and the housing minister through multiple letters. She pointed out discrepancies in the bidding process highlighted in the Vidhan Sabha and raised issues regarding the financial position of the Adani group. The Mumbai Congress president and her party have demanded that the government withhold the work order, the issuance of the LOI, and any further transactions with the Adani group until a thorough reevaluation of their financial position is conducted. However, Gaikwad expressed disappointment with the government’s tendency to evade these critical matters.
Emphasising the importance of a people-centric approach, Gaikwad asserted that while Dharavi’s redevelopment is a shared dream, it should not be dominated by the interests of a select few. She highlighted the historical timeline of the project, including the involvement of various groups and the recent cancellation and subsequent re-tendering under the Shinde-Fadnavis government, which introduced changes to favor certain parties.
“2018: BJP-led govt floats a fresh bid for Dharavi’s redevelopment. Adani bids for it.
Nov’2018: But the SECLINK group comes in the way, winning the bid after quoting Rs. 7200 crore for 80 % stake in the SPV for Dharavi. Then CS-led committee even confirms the winning bid.
…then comes the Delhi angle
Having already accepted Rs 800 crore for the transfer of a land needed for the project, the Railways stalls the transfer.
November’ 2022: After assuming charge, the Shinde-Fadnavis government loses little time in cancelling the bid and floats a fresh tender. Several changes are introduced to the qualification conditions of the bid to make the plot conducive for ‘You Know Who’. The Adani group wins the bid despite quoting Rs 2132 crore less than the original SECLINK offer.
‘Mitra Project Le Jayenge.'”
“Today there are questions on the ability of Adani group to raise capital required for such a large project, but the government continues to be singing ‘Mitra Project Le Jayenge.’ On July 13, 2023, the Maharashtra government formally awards the project to the Adani group,” the Mumbai Congress Chief said.
Reacting to the development, Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh, a close associate of Rahul Gandhi, alleged that state governments controlled by the BJP “have been reduced to ATM machines for his cronies”.