The Meghalaya High Court on Friday refused to vacate its stay order in which it had stayed the entire tendering process floated by the Meghalaya Energy Corporation Limited (MeECL) for the implementation of the Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojna – Saubhagya for providing universal household electrification in the state.
On hearing the petition filed by SA Power Utilities Private Limited challenging the tender process carried out by the MeECL, the High Court’s single bench of Justice S R Sen said in an order that “an Additional Advocate General pressed to vacate the stay order as the matter is urgent. But I am not inclined to vacate the stay today (on Friday) as the entire matter will become infructuous.”
An interim order shall remain in force till the next date of hearing.
“Considering the submission made by the Additional Advocate General, list the matter after a week for rejoinder affidavit as well as hearing,” an order said.
The tender was called by the MeECL on September 26 and the opening of bids was set for October 4.
The court had earlier stayed the entire tendering process till the next date of hearing (November 2). The Court also directed the MeECL and the Meghalaya Government to file counter affidavits while the MeECL was directed not to proceed with the tender.
Allegations were raised that financial requirements of the tender have been devised to exclude local and small-scale contractors and favour certain contractors.
Another allegation was that, the bid document was favouring two parties from outside the State, Satnam Global Infraprojects Limited, Delhi and Patel Engineering, Delhi. It was also alleged that only eight days were given for casting of the tender. The eight-day deadline includes weekends and Gandhi Jayanti, which means only three to four working days were allotted for bidders to take part in the tendering process and the argument is that how such big tenders can be done at such short notice.
Further it was questioned as to why the scope of work of existing contractors of Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY) and others were not extended.
Though the deadline for completion is December 31, 2018, but work is yet to start.
In the tender qualification criteria, the stakes were too high, and none of the local contractors from Meghalaya qualified.
Under Saubhagya, the Union Ministry of Power had in the first part sanctioned Rs 265 Cr in August this year, and in the second part, it was sanctioned Rs 207 Cr in September.