Dennis Marcus Mathew

Subsidiary of Canadian company empanelled for Union Power Ministry scheme

ALAPPUZHA: A subsidiary of the Canadian engineering company SNC-Lavalin continues to be a player in India’s power sector, information that is available in the public domain shows. SNC-Lavalin is arraigned as an accused in an ongoing case relating to a business deal it had with the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) in the 1990s, but it has been unwilling or unable to present its defence so far before a Special Court of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in Kochi that is pursuing the case on the directions of the Kerala High Court.

SNC-Lavalin Energy Control Systems (ECS), a subsidiary of the SNC-Lavalin Group, which is the ninth accused in a charge-sheet filed by the CBI, has bid its way into a list of 14 empanelled implementation agencies for the Union Power Ministry’s flagship scheme, the Rs.50,000-crore Re-structured Accelerated Power Development and Reforms Programme (R-APDRP).

To reduce AT&C losses

The R-APDRP, launched during the 11th Five Year Plan, with Power Finance Corporation Limited (PFCL) as the nodal agency, aims to reduce the aggregate Technical and Commercial (AT&C) losses to 15 per cent in power utilities in States including Kerala.

The programme spans from data acquisition at the distribution level to monitoring of results of steps taken to provide an Information Technology backbone and strengthening of the electricity distribution system across the country. This will be done with the help of the empanelled implementation agencies, as per Government Order No.14/04/2008-APDRP of the Power Ministry, dated September 19, 2008. The list of empanelled implementation agencies is available on the website of the PFCL at www.pfcindia.com, in a link provided to the Government of India’s Accelerated Power Development & Reform Programme, Section VII.3, and also at www.apdrp.gov.in.

The list, dated September 25, 2009, includes 14 companies, including those from India, France, Spain, Portugal, [South] Korea and Germany, some of which are a part of a two-member consortium. SNC-Lavalin ECS, Canada, which is 10th on the list, has Suzanne Caron-Andre as its contact person. The e-mail id for contact is given as kunik.swaroop@snc.lavalin.in.

Ninth accused

SNC-Lavalin has not been barred or black-listed by the State or Central governments, but the company is the ninth accused in the SNC-Lavalin case. Its senior vice-president Klaus Triendl is arraigned as the sixth accused.

Interestingly, the terms listed by PFCL in the Request for Qualification (RfQ) as implementation agency mention that the credentials, financial strengths, and so on, of the parent/subsidiary company of the bidder shall not be considered for evaluation unless the parent/subsidiary firm is a member of the bidder consortium. SNC-Lavalin ECS made the bid on its own.

When the case came up before the CBI Special Court in Kochi in the latest instance on December 30, 2009, SNC-Lavalin remained unrepresented. The court then directed that the summons that had already been issued to it on September 23, 2009, be repeated, as returnable by April 23, 2010. The case now stands posted for April 23.

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