Meter case: Upalokayukta issues notice to Bescom MD

Meter case: Upalokayukta issues notice to Bescom MD

Upalokayukta Justice Subhash B Adi has issued a notice to the managing director of Bescom based on a complaint that the company spent an additional Rs 14 crore in shifting of meters from inside three lakh houses. The complaint was filed by T J Abraham of Karnataka Anti-Graft and Environmental Forum.

The complaint stated that the Bescom had invited tenders under a notification dated November 28, 2011. Five companies had taken part in the tender process and both the technical and financial bids were opened.

However, the tender process was cancelled all of a sudden without any reason. Subsequently, Bescom invited fresh tenders under a  notification with certain modifications which restricted other companies.

“There was a clause in the first tender that any company with a turnover of Rs 100 crore may participate in the process. When five companies took part, the officials cancelled the tenders and after some time, raised the turnover limit to Rs 250 crore. Thus, only one firm, Santhosh Electrical Company could participate in the tender process and also bagged the tender,” the complaint stated.

As per the Schedule of Rate (SR rate) for installation of meters, the rate for the relevant year was Rs 537 per unit. However, Santhosh Electrical Company was awarded the tender for Rs 1,036 per meter. The complainant stated that the eligibility terms to apply for the tender for executing the work of shifting and installing meters were made so stringent that no other company would be able to participate.

“The complaint stated that Santhosh Electrical Company was awarded the contract and it benefitted from the SR rate which was enhanced by100 percent. It is also stated that, as a result of misdeeds, an additional payment of Rs 140 per meter was made to the company. As far as shifting of the meters and supply of material is concerned, it costs only Rs 537 per unit as per the scheduled rate. Thereby, in all, Bescom has incurred a loss of Rs 14.97 crore in the matter of shifting of three lakh meters,'' Justice Adi said.

The complaint has stated that Bescom has violated the provisions of Karnataka Transparency in Public Procurement Act (KTPP). The complainant has also submitted documents to indicate the lapses of concerned officials in this tender process.

Upalokayukta has issued a notice to the managing director of Bescom directing him to submit his response by July 13.

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