Himachal Pradesh Power Corporation Limited (HPPCL) – a state government PSU has come under a cloud for alleged irregularities over awarding of a contract. The company is alleged to have recently favoured a Gujarat-based firm in awarding an electro-mechanical contract at its upcoming 450 MW Shongtong Karcham hydel project .
The project located in the tribal district of Kinnaur had earlier run into trouble due to strong objections from the Army,which also filed a petition in the high court seeking its scrapping. The issue also figured at the civil-military conference last month.
The HPPCL has now received a fresh blow with some serious irregularities in the evaluation process for award of contract to the Gujarat-based coming to the fore. The high court,which was approached by a rival company,has given a thumbs down to the corporations evaluation committee,raising questions on HPPCLs hasty move.
In its order,passed on May 30,a division bench comprising Chief Justice A M Khanwilkar and Justice R B Misra has directed the HPPCL to reconstitute the evaluation committee by excluding a deputy general manager (DGM) rank officer. The said officer was a key member of the erring committee,and his inclusion,according to the court,could influence the final process of selecting the rightful bidder company.
According to Principal Secretary (Power) S K B S Negi,HPPCL has been told to strictly comply with the high court orders and rectify the wrong done earlier. Representatives of M/s Andritz Hydro power,which claims to have otherwise been ranked 1 in the evaluation process,have met me on Wednesday. The Corporation has set up a new evaluation committee.
The issue has also found support from a sitting Lok Sabha MP Ratan Singh who,on May 28,wrote to Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh pointing out discrepancies committed by the evaluation committee and giving unfair advantage of M/S Alstom India Limited,ignoring the claims of other two top bidders including BHEL.