Saturday 20 Jul 2024

‘Convention Centre’ still a pipe dream

Ashley do Rosario | NOVEMBER 02, 2023, 12:09 AM IST

First conceptualised back when Goa became a permanent host for the International Film Festival of India, the international convention centre is showing no signs of taking concrete shape at the site the government has designated for it -- the erstwhile Rajiv Gandhi IT Park at Dona Paula.

The State government’s Department for Public Private Partnership (DPPP) had floated a global tender for the second time in May but no credible bid seems to be coming to build the convention centre in arguably the most expensive real estate locale of the State -- Dona Paula.

This second lease of life (tender) for the proposed ‘International Convention Centre’ was floated way back in May when the DPPP sought fresh bids to construct the 5,000-seater hall and allied infrastructure on the nearly one-lakh square meters parcel of prime land at Dona Paula. 

The tender was re-issued after the winner of the previous tender in December 2022, failed to furnish the performance guarantee of Rs 16.2 crore. It led to the Goa government cancelling the Letter of Award (LoA) and after a brief battle in the High Court decks were cleared for inviting fresh global bids.

The need for a convention centre of this magnitude emanated from the infrastructural requirements for hosting the IFFI and was first mooted by former chief minister, the late Manohar Parrikar. The idea took concrete shape in 2015, when the State-owned Economic Development Corporation (EDC) was tasked with the job of executing the project but after bureaucratic scrutiny it was transferred to the PPP Cell of the State government.

The project is to be implemented in the Design-Build-Finance-Operate-and-Transfer (DBFOT) mode. It includes a 5,000-seater Convention Hall, a 300-room convention hotel, a four screen multiplex, a retail mall and some other allied infrastructure.

The arrangement with whichever company eventually builds it, will be similar to the one the Goa government has with the concessionaire GMR Airports Ltd, for the Manohar International Airport at Mopa.

Land admeasuring 98,299 square meters formerly earmarked for the aborted Rajiv Gandhi Information Technology Habitat is where the project is slated to come up. National and international developers, either single-handedly or as a consortium were eligible to bid.

The project is estimated to take 36 months to construct after the concession agreement is signed between the winning bidder and the State government.

Back in January this year, the State government had hoped that the project would take off after it issued the LoA to a consortium of New Consolidated Construction Co Ltd, Maiwir Engineering Pvt Ltd, and Octmec Consultants LLP.

However, the hopes were dashed when months later the consortium could not meet the pre-conditions laid in the tender for signing the concession agreement.

This was the second LoA scrapped by the State government after the LoA issued to the DCS Solar-Vascon consortium was scrapped as the latter failed to furnish the performance guarantee of Rs 16.2 crore.

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