In an embarrassment to the Pimpri-Chinchwad Smart City Limited, the “experience certificate” submitted by one of the parties of the joint venture (JV) which has been given a multi-crore cable internet networking contract as part of the project has allegedly been found bogus.
The Smart City administration said it will probe into the matter and initiate appropriate action.
According to former PCMC standing committee chairperson Seema Savale, while seeking the tender for the cable internet work, the JV contractors had submitted an “experience certificate” purportedly issued by Tata Teleservices (Maharashtra) Limited. “I wrote to Tata Teleservices Ltd (TTLM). The company has replied that no such letter has been issued to joint venture or one of its partners,” Savale told The Indian Express.
“We will take cognisance of the letter…We will initiate appropriate action in the matter,” said Pimpri-Chinchwad civic body chief Shekhar Singh, who is also the CEO of the project.
“TTLM, in its letter, said no such letter (experience certificate) was ever issued to one of the partners of the joint venture. They said they have found this during their internal inquiry. The letter said TTLM reserves its right to take legal action against the contract. The letter said they have intimated the Pimpri-Chinchwad Smart City Ltd about the forged certificate,” Savale said.
Demanding filing of an FIR against the contractor, Savale, in a letter to PCMC commissioner, said the company should be blacklisted.
Savale said that she along with the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) had repeatedly been telling the PCMC administration not to go ahead with the contract due to the “dubious background” of one of the parties. “However, the commissioner has shown undue confidence in the contractor. From the latest revelation, it is clear that there is more to it than meets the eye. There is a need for a thorough investigation as well…There should be an investigation against officials and consultants as well,” she said.
Savale and the NCP had been protesting against the Pimpri-Chinchwad’s Smart City Ltd’s move to hand over “the entire control of mobile and internet services to a private party whose directors were arrested for running an illegal telephone exchange.”
Two directors of one of the private parties which are part of the JV were arrested in December 2021 by the Ahmedabad police for allegedly running an illegal telephone exchange.
The Pimpri-Chinchwad Smart City Ltd has laid 600 kilometres of fibre network for internet services. The appointed contractor company is supposed to act as “concessionaire” on behalf of the Smart City Limited. “It means if anyone has to use internet services, the firm will distribute it. The firm will collect revenue on behalf of Smart City Ltd. The firm, thereby, gets control of the entire mobile and internet network of the city,” an official said.
Ajit Gavahane, president of NCP’s Pimpri-Chinchwad unit, said three firms had offered bid for the Rs 300-crore contract to operate the 600-km underground internet cable duct. “Of the three bidders, Smart City Ltd had finalised the names of two firms which are in a joint venture. Of the two firms, the promoters of one were arrested,” said Gavahane.