Disregarding the advice of R.K. Jain, CEO of the Polavaram Project Authority (PPA), to abandon the idea of pre-closure and re-tendering, or keep it in abeyance till the Central government takes a considered view of the matter, the Andhra Pradesh government issued a notification inviting reverse tenders for the construction of the Polavaram power house and head works estimated to cost ₹4,988 crore.
Online bidding will start on August 19 and close in 30 days, and the bidders may visit https://tender. apeprocurement.gov.in for the purpose.
Expert panel report
The invitation of reverse tenders follows the expert committee’s report that irregularities in the project implementation caused a loss of nearly ₹3,200 crore to the exchequer as the Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) clause was blatantly violated.
The YSRCP government had recently cancelled the contract awarded to the Navayuga Engineering Company Limited (NECL), and had since resolved to go for reverse tendering.
Addressing the media during a visit of the flood-affected areas in the city, Water Resources Minister P. Anil Kumar said the tender documents were being uploaded, and asserted that the price the government expected to realise through reverse tendering would be less than the base price and the process was like that of any regular tender.
He alleged that the previous government had given works costing approximately ₹10,000 crore on nomination basis to a contractor, and the reverse tender was intended to bring down the cost. Commenting on the PPA’s observation that reverse tendering would delay the project, Mr. Anil Kumar reiterated the government’s resolve to resume the work on November 1 once the flood receded and complete the entire project in two years.
Meanwhile, in the letter to Special Chief Secretary (Water Resources), Government of Andhra Pradesh, Aditya Nath Das, dated August 16, the Polavaram Project Authority CEO stated that there was neither enough ground nor any necessity for pre-closing the tenders and going for re-tenders, and such a step would result in unforeseen consequences and plunge the project into uncertainty.
The project was likely to get delayed, and re-tendering would have an adverse socio-economic impact due to the delay in the realisation of benefits from the project, apart from a likely increase in its cost, Mr. Jain observed, suggesting that while the PPA was finalising its report, the State government should give up the idea of re-tendering.