The functioning of the Haryana Power Department, headed by Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, has been questioned for its alleged acts of “omission and commission” by a ruling BJP MLA and a senior minister.
In a letter to Khattar, Gurugram MLA Umesh Agarwal has pointed fingers at tendering of power meters and purchase of material amounting to over Rs 800 crore.
Agarwal claimed the date and conditions of tenders for purchase of meters in the Dakshin Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (DHBVN) have been deferred and changed thrice.
The MLA, when contacted, said, “It is not for the first time that corruption in power utilities has been pointed to Khattar by BJP leaders. But these have been ignored so far.”
“In the last meeting of BJP’s Legislature Party held at the CM’s residence on January 24, even Cabinet Minister Ram Bilas Sharma pointed out that purchases worth Rs 800 crore have been made in power utilities bypassing the high-powered purchase committee. Khattar summoned Shatrujit Kapur, chairman of the two discoms, in the presence of MLAs, who said he will inquire and get back. However, we are yet to get answers,” Agarwal said.
In the letter dated February 6, Agarwal alleged “dhandli” (fraud) in tender notice QD-736 pertaining to the purchase of 13.9 lakh meters for domestic power connections.
The letter reads, “As head of the department, in a meeting pertaining to this tender on May 19, 2016, you instructed officers of DHBVN to allow a fair competition among bidders and restrict the purchase cost to Rs 85-90 crore and companies with turnover of half the cost of the tender be allowed to bid. The objective was to allow maximum number of suppliers to participate. However, ignoring the directive, the DHBVN management invited tenders asking companies only with a turnover of Rs 176 crore and above to participate to favour specific suppliers.”
He said after he brought the matter to the notice of the Chief Minister, the tender was postponed twice to October 13 and then to December 21. The conditions were also changed, saying the minimum turnover for companies could now be Rs 115 crore. “Now, yet another tender has been called for the same purchase, but the minimum turnover has been raised to Rs 400 crore for obvious reasons.”
Cabinet Minister Sharma, when contacted about his charges of “irregularities”, said he had raised several issues but could not elaborate on them “today as I am busy in the BJP election campaign in Haridwar”. The Chief Minister said he had not received the MLA’s letter so far.
In December, The Tribune had highlighted the appointment of certain officials in the state’s power corporations and Haryana Electricity Regulatory Commission (HERC), indicating a clash of interest. It was pointed out that the watchdogs within the power department had direct linkages with those supplying power to the state.
22 May 2019
23 May 2019