A new Indian company has taken foothold in supporting Morocco’s occupation of Western Sahara: Mumbai headquartered Larsen & Toubro.
The company won a tender which Morocco’s Office National de l'Electricité et de l'Eau Potable (ONEE) had called for to build substations and transmission lines in Dakhla, located in the occupied territories of Western Sahara.
The tender was divided into two lots: Lot 1 covering the construction of a 225/60 KV substation and two 225 KV transmission lines; and Lot 2 covering the construction of a 60/22 KV substation with two 60 KV overhead power transmission lines and 2 underground 60 KV transmission lines.
A picture of cable reels from the Larsen & Toubro construction site illustrates the collection of reels seen on satelite images below. Larsen & Toubro issued a press release on 27 November 2017 saying it had successfully bid for Lot 1, and would move ahead to build “a 225/60kV Substation at Dakhla (Morocco) with associated 60kV overhead lines and underground cables.”
Dakhla is not located in Morocco, but in the neighbouring Western Sahara.
A publication dated 28 November 2019 in Reuters’ business intelligence service Zawya shows that L&T was in fact awarded Lot 2 . Cegelec Maroc was the company awarded Lot 1.
WSRW has located a central part of the works to this location on Google Earth. The pictures below show the development of that location from December 2018 to most probably 2019. The same location was not developed in 2009-2014.
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Morocco occupies the major part of its neighbouring country, Western Sahara. Entering into business deals with Moroccan companies or authorities in the occupied territories gives an impression of political legitimacy to the occupation. It also gives job opportunities to Moroccan settlers and income to the Moroccan government. Western Sahara Resource Watch demands foreign companies leave Western Sahara until a solution to the conflict is found.
It's not easy keeping up with all the different legal proceedings relating to Western Sahara. For the sake of clarity, here's an overview of the five different cases at the Court of Justice of the European Union.