Attempts are being made to sabotage the competitive bidding process to procure a 300 Mega Watt (MW) Combined Cycle Power Plant, the Ceylon Electricity Board Engineers’ Union has claimed, but the ministry has refuted the charge.
Eight bids had been submitted for the plant to be built in Kerawalapitiya. After the technical evaluation process, six had been recommended by the CEB’s Technical Evaluation Committee (TEC) for financial evaluation. However, the union charges that the Standard Cabinet Appointed Procurement Committee (SCAPC), formerly known as the Tender Board, had “arbitrarily decided” that only one bidder was suitable for financial evaluation.
“It is highly suspicious and we assume that this has been done due to some outside influence as SCAPC does not have any technical knowledge to overrule a technical decision recommended by the TEC,” Saumya Kumarawadu, the CEBEU’s President claimed.
According to the CEBEU, the financial bid of the only remaining bidder, a Korean Company, was opened on Friday by the Ministry/CEB Bid Opening Committee in the presence of the other unsuccessful bidders. It was, however, found that the bidder had not submitted a written and signed financial bid but only a soft copy in a flash drive. Without filling the prices in the specified sheet along with a signature and seal, the bid is considered invalid. On the request of the bidder the Bid Opening Committee had tried to open the soft copy but this too had failed due to a technical issue.
The CEBEU suspects that plans are now being drafted to call fresh bids to procure the power plant and will require another 9-12 months resulting in power cuts in 2019, unless the Government purchases costly emergency power, Mr Manawadu stated.
The CEBEU’s stand, according to its President, is that all five remaining bids which were “legitimately recommended” by the TEC should be opened and the tender awarded to the bidder who has quoted the lowest price.
Power and Renewable Energy Ministry secretary Dr Suren Batagoda acknowledged that the selected bidder had failed to submit a written and signed financial bid. He added the bidder has claimed that the reason for the lapse is that they had been “confused by instructions in the tender document.”
He defended the SCAPC’s initial decision to select one out of six bidders, stating that the TEC, in its recommendations, had noted that there were technical deficiencies in the bids submitted by the other five bidders but to give them a period of time to correct the deficiencies.
Read More: New power plant: CEB union claims tender irregularity, but ministry refutes charge
Sunday, August 13, 2017