Bescom, Gescom 'violated' transparency law in buying single-phase meters

Caused loss to exchequer by favouring certain firms: Plaint to Upa Lokayukta

Bescom, Gescom 'violated' transparency  law in buying single-phase meters

The Upa Lokayukta, Justice Subhash B Adi, has issued notices to the Bangalore Electricity Supply Company (Bescom) and the Gulbarga Electricity Supply Company (Gescom) on a complaint that they violated the Karnataka Transparency in Public Procurement (KTPP) Act and committed irregularities in inviting tender for purchase of single-phase meters.

The complaint filed by activist T J Abraham stated that the two agencies violated rules and caused loss to the exchequer in purchase of single-phase static energy meters. Bescom had invited tenders for supply of these meters in 2011. The Bescom board, at a meeting on June 30, 2011, gave the order to Landis & Gyr Ltd, a company based in Kolkata. The company secured the tender to sell these meters through retail outlets of Bescom at Rs 1,190 apiece. The contract was valid for two years, up to August 2013. Subsequently in 2012-13, a fresh tender was called for the sale of meters.

The notification was, however, dropped by an order dated August 5, 2013, citing some “administrative reason” and the contract with Landis & Gyr was extended up to February 5, 2014.  Abraham has contended that Bescom officials proposed to the board to extend the existing contract of Landis & Gyr Ltd “without proper justification”.

 “The value of such an extension orders cannot be more than 25 per cent of the original order value. The provision in the KTPP Act in this regard has been violated,” he stated.

Similarly, Gescom had placed an order with Larsen and Toubro (L&T) for the same meters at Rs 905 apiece. Abraham’s charge is that both Bescom and Gescom “avoided” inviting tenders for the competitive rates with the “only intention” to facilitate Landis & Gyr and L&T, respectively. Even though the contract period had expired, both the contracts were extended again to benefit the companies, the complaint stated.

Taking note of the complaint, Justice Adi has directed the managing directors of Bescom and Gescom to submit their replies to the complaint on July 7. “As per the complaint, both the companies were first given the contract to sell 3,31,440 meters each, and with extensions Landis & Gyr was allowed to sell 5,24,382 meters and L&T 2,78,000. The extension of the contract is in violation of section 23 of the KTPP Act. The complainant also stated that the price quoted in the tenders floated and finalised in neighbouring states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu was Rs 700,” Justice Adi said.

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