The Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) is citing the factors of "better quality and timely execution" to finalise Part-II tender of the Restructured Accelerated Power Development and Reforms Programme (R-APDRP), but ironically, the PSPCL had ignored these factors during Part-I of the programme.
Part-I was an information technology project worth Rs 350 crore, under which the PSPCL had to create a uniform IT platform for 47 towns of Punjab.
The PSPCL is claiming that it finalised Part-II tender as big companies were in the fray. However, the corporation had ignored multinational companies such as HCL, Infosys and Larsen & Toubro for Part-I and selected Mumbai-based Spanco, an Indian company with average expertise in the field.
Since then, the project has been causing harassment to the public due to poor implementation as consumers are getting inflated bills. The project, which was initiated in 2010 and scheduled to be completed this year, has been rolled out in only seven towns against a target of 47.
Spanco, chosen via a questionable re-tendering process over IT giants like Infosys, HCL and L&T, has received flak for its faulty billing and complaint registration system that was to be implemented in 47 towns of Punjab.
PSPCL chairman-cum-managing director (CMD) KD Chaudhri was then director (distribution), while HS Brar was the chairman.
Despite the fact that Spanco failed to properly implement the project, the PSPCL did not cancelled the tender and kept giving the IT company "lifelines". "A close relative of an officer occupying a top post in the PSPCL management was with Spanco. Thus, the IT firm managed to survive, otherwise the tender would have been scrapped," a PSPCL management official said.
Padamjit Singh, chairman of the All India Power Engineers Federation, said, "The entire RAPDRP scheme was a big scam. When there was no need for re-tendering, they ordered it and selected a local firm by rejecting companies such as Infosys. When there is need to order re-tendering for Part-II of the scheme, the PSPCL management is not doing so. Why is the PSPCL hesitating from ordering re-tendering when its own documents show that the bids quoted by companies are almost Rs 500 crore more than the PSPCL base rates?"
He said a high-level probe should be conducted into the Rs 2000-crore R-APDRP project.
Power engineers, under the banner of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) Engineers Association, have repeatedly raised the matter of faulty implementation of the IT project of R-APDRP Part-I and demanded scrapping of the tender, but to no avail.
What happened when
July 2009: Initial tender for IT system issued
Nov 2009: Opening of financial bids postponed
Dec 2009: Spanco empanelled with Power Finance Corporation (PFC) as eligible firm
Jan 2010: Earlier bids not opened, re-tendering done:
Apr 2010: Award of tender to Spanco