Sri Lanka’s emergency power supply programme aimed at maintaining uninterrupted supply of electricity for the people by installing 50 mini diesel power generators has been marred with tender malpractices in the procurement process, Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) Engineers alleged.
The tender called by the CEB for the supply, installation and commissioning of 50 1MW/1.25 MVA containerised package diesel generators, 25 step-up containerised transformer units and 25 containerised diesel fuel tanks in 2016 was recently awarded to Sterling & Wilson of India.
The bid of this Indian company was earlier rejected by the Technical Evaluation Committee (TEC), a senior CEB engineer and a leader of the Engineers union disclosed.
The TEC has recommended Senok Trade Combine Pvt Ltd as the most responsive and lowest bidder with no deviations from the procurement criteria; he said adding that none of the engineers’ input was taken into consideration.
He revealed that the Standing Cabinet Appointed Procurement Committee (SCAPC) has overruled this decision and arbitrarily requested the TEC to re-evaluate two bidders (Sterling & Wilson of India and Hyosung Corporation of India) who have been rejected for non-compliance and for making incomplete bids.
Responding to allegations, Secretary to the Ministry of Power, Energy and Business Development, Dr. B.M.S Batagoda said that SCAPC has selected the lowest bidder Sterling & Wilson of India which fulfilled necessary technical specifications.
He said that this company is a diversified India based Global conglomerate that boasts a legacy of 90 years and it has quoted a price of Rs.2120 million whereas the rejected bidder’s quotation was Rs. 3600 million.
By awarding this tender to the Indian company, the ministry has been able to save over Rs. 1400 million worth of much needed foreign exchange for the country, he claimed.
On the other hand the quality standard of Sterling Generators with the strength of renowned firm Perkins has been accepted by a ten member team of CEB engineers who visited the Indian factory recently.
CEB is in the possession of 45 Sterling Generators and there was nothing wrong in its capacity compared to 22 mini generators supplied by the rejected bidder, he disclosed.
Dejected bidders alleged that “they were made to aware that first lot of 10 units of Mini Generators is being modified at a CEB Premises in Thulhiriya, completely deviating from the original Tender Specifications”.
In a letter to CEB General Manager, one of the dejected bidders stated that they are very much shocked and disturbed by the negligence of CEB for their inaction and allowing this major technical deviation and proceeding with such modification against all tender norms and good business practice.
Expressing his view on this matter, Dr. Batagoda pointed out that a certain adjustment had been made to make these mini power generators compatible for local conditions without any additional costs to the government.
In another development, the CEB has called bids for another tender in a newspaper advertisement on November 08, 2018, for the supply, installation and commissioning of fuel flow meter for 50 1MW Containerised Diesel Generator unit's installation project.
This new tender was in corresponding to the previous tender called in February 2016.
Under this package tender, the supply of flow meters installation and commissioning was part and parcel of the supply scope of the initial tender called in 2016.
Calling for a new tender is a serious violation and deceptive act, further it is also an additional expense for the CEB, one of the dejected bidders alleged.
Calling tenders for supply of 50 mini diesel generators and fuel flow meters has to be part and parcel of the initial tender, the company claimed.
The company noted that 10 units of Generators have arrived in the country without following proper tender procedure, payments terms and completely deviating from tender conditions.
An official of the company added that there were many flaws in the specifications and mainly the sound proof level of mini diesel power generator is not up to the required and permissible level.