Calling the much hype Saubhagya Scheme to electrify households in the state a total failure, the Joint Action Committee of MeECL Suppliers and Contractors said of late, there has been a disturbing trend where projects and works that can be easily taken up by the people of the state are club together and given to outside companies and firms as Turnkey.
The Joint Action Committee of MeECL Suppliers and Contractors have demanded the state government to review its decision to implement various schemes and programme on turnkey basis.
Seeking the intervention of the Power Minister James K Sangma on Wednesday, the delegation of the JAC MeECL-SC also demanded the need to revoke the cancellation of supply/work orders to suppliers and contractors by the MeECL Board of Directors.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, JAC chairman H Rymnong said these companies sublet or lease works to local Civil and Electrical contractors on a piecemeal basis at low rates.
He said, for instance, the much hype Saubhagya Scheme to electrify households in the state with an ambitious timeline to complete by 31.12.2018 is a total failure.
“The scheme was implemented through local suppliers and contractors at the initial stage in the month of May 2018 and by October 2018, 45,000 household connectivity has been achieved, which is 28% of the total household. But, subsequently, there was a radical shift in the execution mode to turnkey to meet the deadline. Since then, we are sceptical to the efficacy of the programme because the work is gigantic, not localise but scattered from one place to another. The wishful dream to complete this programme by 31.12.2018 has not materialized and the works are still going on. The scheme to be fully completed will depend to a large extent on the hard work and efforts put in by the local contractors of the state,” Rumnong said.
“The Saubhagya scheme, therefore, has not reaped benefits to the state but instead has adversely affected in terms of unemployment and huge escalation in the contract price,” he added.
Moreover, the chairman said if the scheme had been implemented through local suppliers and contractors there would have been substantial employment to over 500 registered suppliers and contractors along with monetary savings to the state exchequer.
It may be recalled that all the commissioned power Generation Projects in the state like the Myntdu Leshka Project, the New Umtru Project and even the on-going Ganol Project were smooth sailing from initial stages till their completion because the local stakeholder been participating, contributing and supporting immensely.
There is no denying the fact that all Transmission and Distribution Projects in the state have to rely heavily on local contractors.
Moreover, the MeECL and its subsidiaries alone cannot sustain its operation maintenance obligations without the share strategic partnership from its own registered suppliers and contractors, in spite of their pending dues that has been delaying for years.
Under such a situation, Rumnong said there is an urgent need to review the Implementation Plan Methodology (PM) for various schemes and programmes in Generation, Transmission and distribution subsidiaries with a clear objective that the state shall derive maximum benefits in terms of cost reduction, employment generation, expeditious completion and its overall impact on the state economy.
In a letter to Sangma, the chairman said “We are submitting this representation to you as there is an apprehension that future schemes and programmes will be implemented on turnkey basis, in which we the registered suppliers and contractors will be adversely affected and deprive of our rights in terms of our livelihood and employment.”
“Besides, the MeECL has a pool of 700 Engineers who are capable and if projects are implemented on turnkey basis, it will be a wasteful exercise as their services and expertise are not fully utilised. We, therefore, urge your good office to kindly introspect and do the needful for the best interest of the state,” he added.
Meanwhile, regarding the augmentation of the 132 KV Mawlai sub-station funded under the North East Special Infrastructures Development Scheme (NESIDS), the JAC also expressed strong opposition against the decision of the MeECL Board of Directors to cancel the purchase and work orders in its meeting held on January 31, 2020.
There were 11 purchase orders and 29 letters of awards amounting to Rs 9,38,90,000 out of the total project cost of Rs 49.80 crore that were issued to empanelled suppliers and contractors in the month of August-October 2019.
According to the JAC, the suppliers and contractors are being victimized by the Meghalaya Power Transmission Corporation Limited (MePTCL) for cancellation of Purchase Orders and Work orders issued to them after a gap of six months.
The purchase orders for supply of materials were as per the approved rates of the Material Management wing of the MeECL and for contract works, a letter of awards were given to Contractors after fulfilling the tendering process with prices at par with the Schedule of Rates.
The Suppliers and contractors have also raised their objections on the cancellation of the Supply/Work orders that is not reasonable but the Management has not responded to their petitions.
Moreover, the physical progress almost the date of issue of Supply/work orders till the date of cancellation amount at Rs 2,46,67,990.
In addition to the physical progress, almost all Suppliers and Contractors have already initiated the process for the supply and works so as to meet the target deadline mentioned in the Supply/Work orders. Most of the Suppliers are ready with the materials and had intimated the office for dispatch clearance of the same.
“In view of the above, the Joint Action Committee is constraint to say that there was no discernable and reasonable ground for the Board of Directors of the Meghalaya Power Transmission Corporation Limited (MePTCL) to arrive at a decision to cancel the Purchase Orders and Work Orders without going into the depth of the matter. The Joint Action Committee, therefore request you to kindly intervene into the matter urgently and it is proposed that cancellation of the Supply/Work Orders be re-examined,” Rumnong stated.