Centre-owned major port trusts will have to give dredging works on nomination basis (without tender) to Dredging Corporation of India Ltd (DCI) according to the draft dredging guidelines for major ports prepared by the ministry of ports, shipping and waterways.
“Major Ports may entrust a dredging project to a ports’ owned company, in which it owns controlling share, on nomination basis on approval of Board of Trustees/ Directors of the Port,” says the draft prepared by the ministry and circulated for public consultation.
“Whenever this route for award (of contract) is followed, the principle of competitive market price discovery for the same quality and conditions shall be followed,” it said.
“The major ports may invite open competitive bidding for dredging projects after obtaining the approval of Board of Trustees/Directors,” it stated.
The Ministry reserves the right to assign in public interest, any contract for dredging work in any major port on nomination basis to ports owned dredging company following due settlement process, it further said.
The circulars issued by the ministry under the “Atmanirbhar Bharat” or Make in India or similar policies issued from time to time shall be followed.
Visakhapatnam Port Trust, Paradip Port Trust, Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust and Deendayal Port Trust acquired the Central government’s 73.47 per cent stake in DCI for ₹1,056 crore in March 2019.
“However, the draft guidelines lack clarity on the applicability of the right of first refusal (RoFR) available to Indian flagged dredgers in tenders floated by major ports trusts,” said a dredging industry official. “This will create confusion,” he said.
Currently, Indian flagged dredgers have the right to match the lowest rate quoted by foreign flagged dredgers and take up the work if they come within ten per cent of the lowest bid.
In the absence of a specific reference to the RoFR in the draft guidelines, Indian dredging firms will lose the opportunity to match the lowest rate quoted by a foreign flagged dredger and take up the work, the industry official said.
The draft guidelines aim to move towards international standard of working by adopting CIRIA methodology for cost estimation of dredging works, PIANC classification for soil modelling and survey techniques based on International Association of Ports and Harbours (IAPH)/International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) requirements.