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MTDC cancels Pinewood renovation ‘contract’

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By Our Reporter

SHILLONG, June 14: In an abrupt U-turn, the Meghalaya Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) has decided to cancel the work allotted to Vikram Singhania for dismantling and checking the stability of the wooden structure of Pinewood Hotel.
Tourism Director Cyril V Diengdoh conveyed this message to the members of the All Meghalaya Contractors and Suppliers’ Association (AMC&SA) during their meeting on Friday.
The MTDC had, earlier, denied a report in The Shillong Times that Singhania had been given a multi-crore contract for renovation of the iconic hotel.
Talking to The Shillong Times after they met with the Tourism director, the association’s chief advisor, Gilbert Laloo said they have been informed that the ongoing work at Pinewood Hotel has been stopped.
He cited Diengdoh as saying that the government will first finalise the detailed project report (DPR) for the renovation of the iconic hotel.
“An open tender will be floated once the DPR is completed. Now, all the eligible local contractors can participate in the open tender,” he said.
Stating that the association insisted on transparency, Laloo said they are happy to have achieved what they demanded. He, however, said Diengdoh could not share details of the total budget allocated for the proposed renovation project.
Replying to a query, he said work such as dismantling and checking the stability of the wooden structure of Pinewood Hotel will be incorporated into the main project.
“We were unhappy since the work allotted to Singhania was not transparent. It was done in a hush-hush manner,” he said.
Laloo said the Tourism Department also agreed in principle to provide a copy of all the tenders it has floated. The PWD has been doing the same for all tenders, he added.
Thanking Diengdoh for acting on their complaints, the AMC&SA chief adviser hoped the allotment of work by the Tourism Department would be transparent soon.
Earlier, the MTDC, while denying that the contract for renovating the interiors of Pinewood Hotel had been allotted to Singhania as reported in The Shillong Times, said the corporation only engaged labourers for dismantling the ceiling, wooden floor of the kitchen, and restaurant and banquet hall under the supervision of the design consultant.
According to the corporation, a renovation project usually entails many unforeseen works.
“The work being undertaken is only to check the stability and condition of the existing wooden structure and determine the detailed scope of work for the finalisation of the DPR,” the MTDC had stated.
The components of the project include interior renovation of the banquet hall, kitchen, restaurant, restaurant extension, coffee shop, lobby, reception, and conference room including furniture, lighting and HVAC work.
The MTDC further said Rose Studio Private Limited, which designed the Meghalayan Age Store in New Delhi, has been engaged as the design consultant.
It also said the tender would be floated transparently for all the local contractors to participate.
“Preference will be given to local contractors subject to the fulfilment of the criteria laid down by the engineering wing of the corporation,” Diengdoh had said.

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