Deputy CM and PDD commissioner secretary get tenders cancelled for power infrastructure in six districts
SRINAGAR: Two electricity schemes that could have helped reduce unscheduled power cuts in Kashmir by up to 40 percent have not even been started since they were sanctioned by Government of India (GoI) one-and-a-half year ago.
One reason for this is Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh and Commissioner Secretary of the Power Development Department, Dheeraj Gupta, together deciding to cancel tenders won by two companies to set up electricity infrastructure in six districts of Kashmir. The tenders were cancelled despite clearance given to them twice by inquiry committee set by power department, after Singh and Gupta raised questions of irregularities in the tendering process.
Since the tenders were cancelled, no company has shown interest for the work in the rest of the districts, despite tenders being issued multiple times. An internal inquiry had been ordered by Gupta over suspected irregularities in the tenders given to two companies – M/S ECI Hyderabad and M/S BS Limited. It was suspected that the two companies did not qualify the minimum techno-commercial criteria to take up the work of the two schemes – the Prime Minister’s Development Plan (PMDP-Rural) and the Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY). The committee constituted on May 22 comprised of JKSPDC executive director Srinagar as chairman, JKSPDC director finance and superintending Engineer, CVPPL as members. The report of the inquiry committee formed to ascertain the qualifications of the two companies, a copy of which has been accessed by Kashmir Reader, found that both the companies had the techno-commercial qualification as stipulated in various clauses of the bidding document.
In October last year, the project wing of the Power Development Department (PDD) had issued the tenders for work on the two central government-sponsored electricity schemes. Initially no company had shown interest. Later, the aforesaid two companies applied and won the tender for Anantnag, Budgam, Baramulla, Bandipora, Ganderbal and Kupwara districts.
According to insiders in the PDD, the schemes were the first of their kind in Jammu & Kashmir. They could have helped the state reduce power losses by augmentation of existing infrastructure and creation of new power infrastructure. The main work of the companies, as per the schemes, was to replace the present LT wires with insulated cables, a change that would have also reduced pilferage losses.
Sources said that after the cancellation of tenders, the two companies have moved court, which has stayed the work on the schemes in the six districts.
“Now the case is being heard in court. Until there is a direction from the court, the work will be deferred,” one of the top government officers working on the project told Kashmir Reader.
Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh was not available for comments. His PRO, Omash, suggested that the query be taken to Minister of State (Mos) for Power, Syed Farooq, because the deputy chief minister was busy.
Farooq did respond to repeated calls from this newspaper.
The DDUGJY is a fully sponsored GoI scheme for electrification of un-electrified villages. According to the status report of the scheme, there were 134 un-electrified villages as on April 2015. The state government until September this year had only electrified 34 villages.
The aim of the PMDP-Rural is to reduce power losses by replacing bare conductors with aerial bunched cables, and by installation of high-voltage distribution system (HVDS). The HVDS can provide transformers to three to four households instead of the current arrangement where a transformer distributes electricity to hundreds of households.