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AIPEF demands enquiry into BBMB purchase 'scam'
Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) is paying at least 25% more on purchase of isolators as it failed to take a decision over a tender in time.

All India Power Engineers Federation (AIPEF), in a letter to Central Vigilance Commission, has demanded an enquiry into alleged bungling of tender for procurement of isolators in 2012 which failed as top BBMB officials had sought hefty kickbacks from the deal. The copy of the letter is available with this citizen journalist .

BBMB had initiated tender process for purchase of four categories of isolators costing about 2.5 crore rupees in 2011.After technical evaluation, the price bids were opened in January 2012 and the offers were valid up to August 11, 2012.The memorandum for procurement of isolators was sent to MLPC (Middle Level Purchase) for placing the order on the lowest technical suitable offer.

BBMB failed to decide the purchase case within the validity period as the Jaipur-based firm with lowest bid was not willing to pay the hefty amount of kickback sought by top BBMB officials

It has been alleged in the letter that Chief Engineer Transmission paid an unofficial visit to Jaipur to negotiate the kickbacks with firm but failed. The purchase committee held its meeting on August 22 last year, while the validity of lowest technically suitable bidder expired on August 11.

The Jaipur-based firm refused to extend the validity claiming that there was no margin for kickbacks. Two senior officers were ordered to visit Jaipur to persuade the firm to extend the validity but firm refused to entertain them and officials had to drop their plan.

AIPEF has alleged in its complaint that the memorandum was kept pending in MLPC because the lowest bidder was not prepared to pay the Commission demanded. The case got deadlocked because the BBMB MLPC could not ignore the lowest bidder and it was in no position to go to next higher bidder. Net result was that BBMB had to drop the tender and re invite bids.

When the re tendering took place all the bidders quoted much higher rates as all were in  knowledge of BBMB working and kept margin for bribes. Now in July 2013, BBMB has placed the order for 245 KV isolators only for Rs 1.34 crore.

This is at least 25% higher than the lowest bid which BBMB received earlier. Even the lowest bidder of last time raised its prices by about 50 %. The case for other categories of isolators could not be decided by taking plea that the quoted rates were on the higher side.

Padamjit Singh, Chairman AIPEF said that under such circumstances the extension to BBMB Chairman should not be given at any cost and that Central Vigilance Commission should investigate the scam.

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