Complains to Manmohan Singh about Planning Commission

Communist Party of India (Marxist) Rajya Sabha member Tapan Sen has asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to take immediate action to end the ‘maligning' of public sector companies by the Planning Commission and demanded the immediate withdrawal of a report that had criticised the quality of power equipment produced by the state-run Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL).

In a letter to the Prime Minister, Mr. Sen said the issues raised by him should be crossed-checked by him and immediate steps taken to end the tarnishing of the BHEL by the Planning Commission.

“The situation needs to be remedied by appropriate action like clear-cut direction for withdrawal of such report through public statement and a clear instruction to Chairman, Planning Commission to refrain from such type of activities in future,” he said in the letter.

Mr. Sen wrote, “I understand a report has been prepared and made public by the Planning Commission, alleging that the performance of Chinese equipment is better than that of the BHEL. The report also commented on the BHEL's alleged failure and incompetence in timely execution/commissioning of power plants under various contracts. The report is shocking, besides being ill-intentioned, as it reflects deliberate maligning and tarnishing the image of a Navaratna company owned by the Union government in public, by an authority appointed by the same government.”

Mr. Sen said this amounted to disowning as well as ditching the government-owned company by the owner itself.

Competitive market

“I fail to understand as to what and whose interest is served by such maligning of a public sector Navaratna company, which has to operate and deliver to the nation in a stiff competitive market. What may be the urgency to favour the foreign competitor over the BHEL by way of such public certification of their superiority? The matter needs a clarification,” the letter stated.

He said, according to his information, the allegations made against the BHEL in the Planning Commission's report were not correct.

So far as the allegation of delay in executing projects, the facts on the ground revealed that in 75 per cent of the projects in which the BHEL was associated, its obligation was limited to boiler, turbine and generator which accounts for 40 to 45 per cent of the total work of the project.

Rest of the activities of the project pertained to the Balance of Plant (BoP) like electrical, coal handling, ash handling and water systems.

In almost all those projects, delay in commissioning, wherever it occurred, had been due to delay in the rest of the activities for which, the BHEL, in no way, could be held responsible.

He also said, as far as comparative quality and competing capability between the BHEL and its other rivals were concerned, the Planning Commission's allegation did not stand.

He pointed out that “the matter needs to be looked into comprehensively. For example, some of the Chinese companies got contracts committing faster delivery, but in the final analysis, things were quite different.

BHEL products

“The independent analysis carried out on 40 power plants commissioned in the last two years reveals that the BHEL deliveries are in no way inferior to those of the Chinese. It has also been revealed by similar studies that the secondary fuel oil (SFO) consumption of Chinese sets is 12 times more than in the BHEL sets. Other independent international analysts echo the same sentiment about the superiority of the BHEL equipment,” he remarked.