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Race for Iraqi contracts hots up

New Delhi, April 17: A string of Indian firms like Nicco Corporation, Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (Bhel), Tata International, Kirloskar Brothers and Essar are eyeing post-war reconstruction contracts in Iraq under the UN’s ‘oil for food programme’.

“We had a contract to build a process plant in Iraq before the war took place. The project is worth Rs 10 crore. At the moment we are only trying to revive that project from the UN,” said Abhijeet Sen, co-chairman and managing director of Nicco Corporation.

Nicco’s core interest lies in building process plants and undertaking oil and gas related projects. Depending on whether India gets construction contracts and the size of the deals, Nicco will try to bag them for post-reconstruction of Iraq, he added.

Recently, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci) took a small delegation to confer with officials of the UN’s Office of Iraq programme (OIP) for the resumption of supplies of goods and materials worth Rs 3,000 crore which are supposed to reach before May 12 under the terms of Resolution 1472 passed on March 28.

“OIP has agreed that the entire orders of wheat placed with Indian firms will be accepted,” said Ficci president A. C. Muthiah.

In addition, the OIP officials promised that at a later stage, depending on the availability of funds, orders relating to tea and LPG cylinders will be given priority.

Muthiah said: “The OIP has clarified that present rates of orders for various supplies as approved by UN 661 committee will remain sacrosanct. However, the five nominated agencies of UN can negotiate the price increase or decrease due to shipping costs up to the new delivery point.” This has been brought to the notice of concerned exporters, he added.

S. C. Vig, group general manager (international operations), Bhel, said: “Our core competence is power generation, transmission and distribution to power fields. We are looking for seeking contracts in Iraq for the same where we can provide our expertise.” The company is also interested in telecom projects. “The payments under oil for food programme is managed well by UN and so receiving payments is not a problem. If the same exists for contracts under post-reconstruction for Iraq, then we are willing to seek contracts there as well,” he added.

S. S. Ubhi, vice-president, PCP, said, “Under the US aid for Iraq reconstruction, we are looking at construction of oil fields, power plants, power distribution and providing pre-fabricated modules for residential purposes.”

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