Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan on Wednesday denied any irregularity in the award of contract for the management of the government’s data centre to Reliance InfoTech.
Replying to the debate on the motion of thanks to the Governor for his address in the Assembly, the Chief Minister also said that the security concerns over a private company managing government servers was baseless.
The Chief Minister said the contract had to be re-tendered because of technical defects in the first tender. Reliance, which had entered the bid on re-tendering, was awarded the contract because their bid was the lowest. The Centre was previously being managed by the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing and Tata Consultancy Services. None including Tata Consultancy had complained about the award and there was no bid from public sector units. Though the National Informatics Centre had the capability to manage data centres, they would not do it for State governments.
Mr. Achuthanandan said that the Reliance company would not be able to access confidential data of the government. Kerala Congress (M) member P.C. George, who had raised the allegation, interjected to say that the government had lost Rs. 1 crore upon re-tendering. The Tata company had quoted for Rs. 4.90 crore in the first bid. Upon re-tendering, the contract went for the Reliance company for Rs. 5.90 crore. The bid of the public sector Centre for Development of Imaging Technology (C-DIT) was rejected on the ground that it was received 15 minutes late.
The Chief Minister said the allegation was being raised to tarnish the commendable performance of the government in the IT sector. The basic infrastructure facilities under the government had grown four fold over the past four years. The number of IT parks increased from two to ten. The number of companies had grown two fold while the number of employees increased by three times. Exports had increased to Rs. 3,000 crore.
He noted that the built-up area at the Technopark in Thiruvananthapuram had increased from 13.5 lakh square feet in 2006 to 45 lakh square feet this year. As many as 63 companies started operations there during the past four years. Similarly, the number of companies in the Infopark, Kochi, increased from 31 to 63. The built up space went up from 5 lakh square feet to 25 lakh square feet. Land had been acquired for Infocity.
Congress member M.A. Wahid said Mr. Achuthanandan, who had led the agitation against the land acquisition as Opposition Leader, was now claiming credit for the acquisition.
Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said that murders and other crimes as well as traffic accidents had come down in the State. Law and order in Kerala was better than other States in the country.