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Heredia Citizens Protest Hospital Concession Bid

July 29, 2005

A group of concerned citizens callingthemselves the Heredia Movement Onthe Streets has expressed its opposition tothe inclusion of the Spanish constructioncompany Obregón, Huarte Laín (OHL) inthe pool of contenders for the buildingcontract for a new hospital in Heredia,northwest of San José, the daily LaNación reported.OHL built the $36 million hospital inAlajuela, also northwest of the capital.The Alajuela building is plagued withconstruction flaws and equipment malfunctions,according to the Social SecuritySystem (Caja). Earlier this year, OHLagreed to pay for some of the repairs, butnot until after a heated argument (TT,March 4).Eduardo Víquez, president of theNetwork of Health Boards, told the dailythe Caja’s inclusion of OHL in thebidding pool despite the doubts aboutthe Alajuela hospital is “the last straw.”The Caja had originally excluded anybusiness with which it had problems inthe past from competing for the $27 millionHeredia construction contract. Later,the Comptroller General’s Office forced itto withdraw the stipulation, saying whathappened during one job does not influencea new public bid.Guillermo López, general manager ofOHL Costa Rica, confirmed the businessis studying the project and will present aproposal. Forty-four companies haveentered the bid since the pre-qualificationround began in June.

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