Tendering of regional grids in GB termed against PPRA rules

January 27, 2023

LAHORE: Water and Power Department Gilgit-Baltistan has been accused of violating PPRA Rules 2004 in awarding a contract for establishment of Regional Grids Project , costing Rs17 billion.A letter...

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LAHORE: Water and Power Department (W&PD) Gilgit-Baltistan has been accused of violating PPRA Rules 2004 in awarding a contract for establishment of Regional Grids Project (Phase-I), costing Rs17 billion.

A letter written to Chief Secretary, Gilgit-Baltistan, Transparency International alleged that W&PD violated PPRA Rules 2004 for establishment of Regional Grids Project, and the decision should be reviewed, and tender re-invited if allegations were found correct.

PC-I for the engineering, procurement, and construction (ECP) of regional grid in GB was approved by CDWP on October 17, 2019 at a total cost of Rs4.959 billion. However, the tenders were not invited for two years.

Later on October 1, 2021, the Project Director Establishment of Regional Grids in GB (Phase-l), invited bids for the ECP of the regional grid.

As many as 14 firms purchased the bidding documents; however, due to lack of official communication by the project office, only three bidders could attend the pre-bid meeting. Moreover, due to the requirement of PEC license at bid submission, which was ultimately removed, only two bidders submitted bids on December 14, 2021.

In the pre-CDWP meeting held on August 19, 2022, it was decided to submit updated revised PC-I for the project. For this, Federal Ministry of KA&GB and W&PD had to carry out rebidding of the project after due consultations with established EPC contractors/firms.

It was decided that the firms should be working in DISCOs for construction of 132KV grid and transmission lines projects, and it would be ensured that shortcomings in the RFP/bidding process were removed.

Furthermore, the meeting decided that the RFP and bidding documents should be finalised by the Ministry of KA&GB in consultation with NTDC and relevant DISCOs PESCO and IESCO to ensure better participation in the rebidding process.

Meeting minutes show that of the two bidders, the lowest quoted bidder lacked requisite experience as its foreign partner had not worked in Pakistan, while the local counterpart had no experience in the construction of transmission line/grid stations despite being lead partner with 60 percent share.

It was alleged that the CDWP approved Revised PC-I at a total cost of Rs17 billion to protect the interest of the lowest bidder. It was also noted that both local companies held no prior experience in construction of grid station and transmission lines in Pakistan or abroad.

foreign partners of both companies also did not have valid registration with the government of Pakistan, PEC, SECP, and or WAPDA and DISCOs in the relevant category of construction of grid stations and transmission lines.

Based on the authenticity of the submitted documents, prima facie, Transparency International observed, it appears that the complaint is correct and W&PD, Gilgit-Baltistan has violated CDWP decisions dated August 19, 2022. Once the PC-I was revised, the procuring agency should have re-invited the tender as per the pre­-CDWP Meeting.

The project was to be completed in three years to connect the power distribution system of Gilgit, Ghizer, Hunza, Nagar and Astore with the grid. The project would also minimise line losses and voltage drop, while providing electricity to far-flung areas after completion.

When contacted, Aziz Ahmed Jamali, a senior official of Gilgit-Baltistan government dealing with the project, said work on the project has been stopped after lapses pointed out in this regard. He said the project was processed for tender by the Ministry of KA&GB. Procedural lapses were pointed out by relevant forum at the Planning Commission. Government of GB has already asked PC to ascertain the same and review accordingly. Keeping in view such observations, work on the project remains suspended, he concluded.

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