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Former director says absolute corruption in AEGCL

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  31 May 2015 12:00 AM GMT

Straight from the horse's mouth

By our Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, May 30: British historian Lord Acton said: 'Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely'. The Assam State Electricity Board (ASEB) was trifurcated in order to stop the rot when Pradyut Bordoloi was State Power Minister. The outcome? Today all the power companies and its coorditor ASEB have totally rotted out. What powerful Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi and his past and present Cabinet colleagues have done on the power scerio in the State is less said, the better.

This piece came straight from the horse's mouth, without addition of any sorts from this reporter.

Avijit Mazumdar, former director of State power utility - AEGCL - claims in a press meet at Dsipur Press Club today to have written over 50 letters to the AEGCL MD, while in service, pointing out the crucial issues plaguing the company, but to little avail.

Mazumdar has put forth an instance of corruption in land purchasing deal in Sopur for the construction of a sub-station located next to CMCL (Star Cement) factory. The land value, according to Mazumdar, was Rs 1 crore from ADB grant, and the earth-filling tender was issued at Rs 2 crore. "However, 50 per cent of the land hasn't been purchased as yet as one of the land owners has refused to be part of the deal. How could the AEGCL be so careless in identifying the land? Why was the land located next to Star Cement Factory? chosen" Mazumdar questioned, and added: "Star Cement has been given a tapping line (with pay) of 220KV since 2010. How can a tapping line be given for such a long period? If there arises any fault in the line, the Karbi Langpi Project will be directly affected. Due to these issues, the construction of the sub-station has reached a three-year delay and this will continue. The scheduled completion of the project was in 2012."

Mazumdar further said: "... The company is contemplating on converting the AIS sub-station to a GIS (Gas-Insulated Substation), which will increase the cost by Rs 50 crore. GIS substations are meant for cities with limited space. If at all it has to be converted to a GIS, why not in Guwahati city? Moreover, an AIS contractor doesn't have the experience for a GIS sub-station. And instead of a tender for it, the MD filized and given the contract to a Chinese firm without any tender. This imprudence of AEGCL has led to an array of problems and cost overruns".

"The wrong dealings between the MD and CMCL (Star Cement) is evident from another serious lapse. A tripartite agreement signed between Star Cement, AEGCL and APDCL. The cement factory had given 24 advance cheques each amounting to Rs 17 lakh. However, the MD and his office did not handed over the cheques to the CGM Fince. This was not informed in any of the Board meetings too. This is complete mismagement of power by the MD. When I questioned the MD regarding the matter, he said that due to shortage of manpower, CMCL (Star Cement) was running the substation. Why was no employment generated for the local people after receiving advance payment? How could CMCL (Star Cement) run the sub-station?" Mazumdar questioned, and added: "Filly manpower was outsourced at a rate of Rs 3 lakh and but without any tender. These issues cannot be ignored, and this is just an example."

According to Mazumdar, partiality is shown to M/s Jyoti Structures Ltd over awarding tenders by the MD and his magement. "As per ABD loan No. 2592 dated January 25, 2010, M/s Jyoti Structures Ltd was awarded a tender for the 220 KV Salakati- Rangia transmission line. The contract value was Rs. 74 crore and was to be completed within 18 months. However, only 7 per cent work was completed within the period. I raised objection and demanded the cancellation of the contract. The MD had his regular view that ADB projects cannot be cancelled and said that he had warned the contractor to complete the work within six months. I also asked for imposition of pelty as per tender rules. But till date, no pelty has been ordered even after delay of the project. After more than four years, the project is merely 40 per cent completed," Mazumdar said, and added: "In 2014, another proposal of four additiol piling of foundation was passed and the project worth was of Rs 17 crore. However, we objected to the value of the project amount and the amount was drastically reduced to Rs 12 crore. I was surprised at this sudden huge reduction. Why was it not negotiated earlier and only when the board members objected, a renegotiation was considered? And the tender was awarded to M/S Jyoti Structures Ltd., even after constant delays of the previous contract, another Rs 12 crore project was handed over to M/S Jyoti Structures Ltd."

According to Mazumdar, AEGCL does not maintain CVC guidelines of e-Tendering process. A tender system, he says, cannot be genuine and transparent if it is not under e-tender. In the past five years, according to Mazumdar, about Rs 3,000 crore ADB grants have come to the company, however, a large number of projects are facing delays.

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