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Pune Municipal Corporation’s LED street light project under fire over tender process

Nagrik Chetna Manch allege that irregularities in project’s tender process could lead to ₹100-cr loss to PMC

pune Updated: Nov 25, 2017 15:06 IST
Abhay Khairnar
Abhay Khairnar
Hindustan Times, Pune
Former standing committee chairman Vishal Tambe said that the contractor has only fit 40,000 LED street lights yet.(Sanket Wankhade/HT PHOTO)

The Pune Municipal Corporation’s (PMC) agreement with a private contractor for the installation of 70,000 LED street lights as per tender no. 46-2016-17 is continuing to raise concern among a section of citizen-actvists and corporators over the alleged loss it is causing to the public exchequer.

Prominent citizen-activist Maj Gen (retd) Sudhir Jatar, representing Nagrik Chetna Manch (NCM), had filed a complaint over the issue at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) in March this year. He pointed out that the PMC corporators had alleged that the administration “had handled the LED street lights project arbitrarily, making the citizens suffer the brunt of their decisions” in the general body meeting on September 25, 2017.

NCM, in its complaint, alleged that the entire tender process for street LED lighting was illegal. They said that of the 51% saving in electrical consumption as proposed by the contractor and accepted by the PMC, the contractor’s share was 98.5%, while the PMC’s share was only 1.5%.

“In other similar contracts (Bhubaneswar, Jaipur), the savings were between 75% and 82% while the share of profit to the municipal corporation was between 10% and 30%. Thus, PMC could lose out up to ₹100 crores,” NCM said in its complaint.They NCM further alleged that there has also been a violation of Competition Act and Prevention of Corruption Act, among other irregularities.

The Pune Municipal Corporation, while replying to Jatar, said that the PMC is executing the project on a BOT (Build, Operate and Transfer basis), which is not the case in other cities. They added that it was not logical to compare PMC’s project with that of other cities as they are the first to execute the project in such a manner. PMC also added that on the request of the bidders, they had made some changes in the tender document after the pre-bid meeting. Other participants had also not objected to the changes, which means that there was no favouritism in the selection process, PMC officials added.

Former standing committee chairman Vishal Tambe told Hindustan Times that the revenue sharing agreement between the contractor and the PMC needed to be examined as it was not in favour of the public.

“Previously, it was accepted that the cost of the LED fittings were high when it was introduced but now, the technology has become much cheaper. Therefore, there is a need to bring down the share of the contractor immediately, which can be done legally. The contractor has hardly finished 40,000 fittings yet,” said Tambe. Standing committee member Avinash Bagwe said that no audit of LED fittings was conducted and that the contractor has installed LED fittings of a lower power.

First Published: Nov 25, 2017 15:05 IST