Netizens have slammed India’s Modi government after a Chinese company bagged the contract to construct a stretch under the Rapid Rail Transit System (RRTS) in New Delhi. The development comes amid the India-China border standoff in Ladakh.
The National Capital Region Transport Corporation (NCRTC), a government-owned company, has awarded the construction work of a 5.6-kilometer underground stretch from New Ashok Nagar to Sahibabad of the Delhi-Meerut RRTS project to a Chinese company – Shanghai Tunnel Engineering Company Limited, news agency PTI reported.
The NCRTC has said that the contract was awarded after following the proper procedure and guidelines. An NCRTC spokesperson said in a statement that approvals were made at various levels of the bidding process.
In the wake of the June 15 Galwan Valley clash in which 20 Indian soldiers were killed, a controversy had erupted over reports that a Chinese firm emerged as the lowest bidder for the RRTS project.
Although the tender was not finalized at the time and there were demands to reject the Chinese firm, the Union Housing, and Urban Affairs Ministry had said that rules did not permit any discrimination.
The Ministry had clarified that it was an Asian Development Bank-funded project for the design and construction of a 5.6-km tunnel using a tunnel-boring machine and one RRTS station.
Notably, China (6.4%) and India (6.3%) are among the largest borrowing shareholders of the ADB, according to the Center for Strategic and International Studies, an American think tank.
Netizens Express Ire On Social Media
Meanwhile, netizens took to social media demanding #BoycottChina. Twitter users have slammed the government for awarding the project to a Chinese firm at a time when the border standoff is far from over.
The Twitterati also recalled how Prime Minister Narendra Modi had made calls for going “Vocal for Local”, in order to reduce dependence upon Chinese goods and promote ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Modi ji : Mitron #BoycottChina
Also, Modi ji gives contract of Delhi-Meerut Railway project to chinese firm…..
Modi ji be like : pic.twitter.com/55SIHT2Dew
— Maryam (@Maryam51484872) January 4, 2021
Dekho Mitron!! on the one hand we are breaking down the purchased goods with our own money in support of #BoycottChina And on the other hand the government approving big projects in the country to Chinese companies. Will we boycott China like this? pic.twitter.com/9rT7lCpwNI
— जसवन्त सिंह भाटी (@JaswantHarsani) January 4, 2021
Kya itna hi dam hai Indian Government me ki 44 cr. k liye Boycott China ki Dhajiyya uda di.
Puchata hai bharat, where is: Vocal for Local??
where is: Atmanirbhar Bharat??#AtmaNirbharBharat pic.twitter.com/HlXuPdF2Nw
— Shubham Verma (@shubham_verma91) January 4, 2021
Ban On Chinese Mobile Apps
India has banned over 100 Chinese mobile apps citing security concerns since June 2020. Furthermore, the economic ties between the two countries have also been strained due to the border conflict.
India had imposed several restrictions and tariffs on imports from China soon after the violent face-off in June. India’s state-run telecom companies – Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL) – barred Chinese telecom equipment vendors from participating in their tenders.
The state governments of Maharashtra, Haryana, and Bihar had also canceled contracts for infrastructure projects given to the Chinese companies.
China has condemned India’s actions, but at the same time, both sides have expressed their willingness to continue talks over the disengagement of troops along the Line of Actual Control.