Special Correspondent

CHENNAI: Fifteen firms will supply 41.62 lakh colour television sets to be distributed free in the next round, it was decided at a meeting chaired by Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi here on Wednesday.

In the fourth phase, the government will spend Rs.750 crore this year for buying and distributing colour television sets to households that do not have one.

As many as 19 firms participated in the pre-qualification process last month. Two were disqualified as they did not meet the stipulations.

The remaining 17 participated in the price bids.

Here again, two more firms have been disqualified as they did not meet the price expectations of the government, a press release stated.

P.G. International, which quoted Rs.2,321, was the lowest bidder.

At the meeting held on Wednesday to discuss the capacity to supply televisions and reduce price further, representatives of the firm said that since they had already quoted a very low amount, they would not be able to reduce it further.

In discussions with the other firms, two of the firms said that they would not be able to supply at the price quoted by the lowest bidder. They were, hence, disqualified.

The remaining 14 agreed to supply televisions at the price quoted by the lowest bidder.

Based on their ability to supply televisions sets at an early date, five firms, including P.G. International, were given the order to supply five lakh sets each.

Already 51.34 lakh families have been given the TVs in phases at a cost of Rs.1266 crore. At the end of the third phase, the government expects to equip 62.8 lakh families with colour television sets at a cost of Rs.1517.87 crore.