Shah Jahan never floated tender to build Taj Mahal: Goa minister

Panaji, July 13 (IANS) Defending the state government's move to nominate a contractor for the renovation work of Kala Academy without floating a tender, Goa Art and Culture Minister Govind Gaude said on Wednesday that even Shah Jahan did not invite quotations before building the Taj Mahal.
 
Shah Jahan never floated tender to build Taj Mahal: Goa minister

Panaji, July 13 (IANS) Defending the state government's move to nominate a contractor for the renovation work of Kala Academy without floating a tender, Goa Art and Culture Minister Govind Gaude said on Wednesday that even Shah Jahan did not invite quotations before building the Taj Mahal.

"Taj Mahal was built between 1632 amd 1653. You know why it is still so beautiful and everlasting? Because Shah Jahan never invited quotations to build it. That is why the Taj Mahal is intact even after 400 years, Gaude said.

Earlier on Wednesday, Goa Forward Party chief and Fatorda MLA Vijai Sardesai raked up the issue of Kala Academy in the Assembly, alleging that no tender was floated for the restoration work worth around Rs 49 crore, which is against the CPWD manual.

He demanded a probe into the restoration of Kala Academy, which was designed by legendary architect Charles Correa.

"In 2012, Kirit Somaiya and Devendra Fadnavis had filed a complaint with the Anti-Corruption Bureau against (NCP leader) Chhagan Bhujbal over the construction of the Maharashtra Sadan. It was a similar case and Bhujbal was jailed in that matter. In this case also the concerned officials will land in trouble if someone apporoaches the court," Sardesai said.

Sardesai also said that the 'estimate' of the restoration work ran for only of 'one single page', to which Gaude took objection and said that the former is misguiding the people of Goa.

Sardesai said that every thing was done very quickly wherein the contractor (from another state) sent acceptance on the same day the work order was sent to him.

"Kala Academy was built 40 years ago at a cost of Rs 4 crore, and now Rs 56 crore is spent to repair it," Sardesai said, to which Gaude took objection and said the work order is worth Rs 49 crore.

Citing an example of the restoration of the Shree Saptkoteshwar temple by the Archives and Archeology Department following a proper tendering process, Sardesai said that "specialised agencies must come forward with tender".

"A probe should be conducted into the matter by a retired high court judge and till that time, the finance department should stop making payment to the contractor," Sardesai demanded.

He also said the government should not justify its wrongdoings by citing the story of Taj Mahal.

"Public money is being used for the restoration of Kala Academy. The process should be fair. The CPWD is like the Bible when it comes to development work, but its manual was not followed," he said.

"If everything is right, I will say sorry. But don't give us the story of Taj Mahal. This is not Taj Mahal. This is the modern age. There should be transparency," Sardesai said.

"I am a structural engineer. I got to know that Kala Academy was in poor condition. There was a need for structural strengthening of the same. The pillars were in bad shape. That is why we took up the restoration work," Gaude said.

"We have followed all the procedures in a fair manner. There could be a few administrative lapses. But it was my responsibility to restore it," Gaude said.

--IANS

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