Biotech Park in Bangalore runs into trouble again

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Bengaluru, Oct 17: The State Government"s ambitious project of setting up a Biotech Park in Bangalore, which was conceived by the S M Krishna Government, has run into trouble again.

The previous H.D. Kumaraswamy Government had taken a decision to establish the BT Park to be jointly funded by the State and Central Governments on 106 acres of land in Electronics City off Bangalore in June 2006 as against the original proposal of setting it up on the GKVK campus of University of Agricultural Sciences. Now Part A of the project is under implementation at the Electronics City.

Part B of the project comprising establishment of Biotech Incubation Centre and Common Instrumentation facility on 14 acres of land to be fully funded by the Centre as also Part C comprising biotechnology companies" cluster in 86 acres of land to be developed on public-private-partnership (PPP) could not be implemented owing to problems with the selected bidders.

Addressing presspersons after a Cabinet meeting on Thursday, Minister for Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Shobha Karandlaje said a decision was taken to drop the selection of the bidder for execution of Part B and C of the project and forfeit the bid security Rs. 48 lakh. Now the Karnataka Biotechnology Information Technology Services (KBITS) has to start the entire process afresh, she said.

The Part A of the Rs 103.10-crore project covered construction of institutional and research and development blocks comprising Institute for Bioinformatics and Applied Biotechnology, Centre for Human Genetics, Hostel Block and Administrative Block of Karnataka Biotechnology Information Technology Services (KBITS) on six acres of land.

The Part A component, which is entirely funded by the State Government, is under implementation Electronics City. The institutional block is expected to be commissioned next month, Ms. Karandlaje said.

Three companies had been short-listed during the process of identification and selection of the private partner for execution of Part B and C of the BT Park project in consultation with iDecK and BT Vision Group in April 2007, the consortium of Alexandria Real Estate Equities Inc and TCG Urban Infrastructure Holidings Ltd was chosen.

During the President"s Rule, Governor Rameshwar Thakur finally approved the signing of concession agreement between KBITS and the special purpose company to be set up by the selected bidder on June 15, 2007. But subsequently, according to the sources, the consortium partners developed cold feet on setting up the special purpose company. When KBITS issued a notice to the consortium partners over the delay in executing the concession agreement, the lead partner Alexandria Real Estate Equities Inc, preferred to go ahead without the other partner, which was not accepted, the sources said.

The sources said that re-tendering and selection of a fresh private partner had become inevitable which might lead to a delay of at least six to twelve months in implementing the BT park project.

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