Coal Supply to Matarbari Power Plant: CPGCBL keeps efforts to award unqualified venture

* Complaints submitted at Prime Minister's Office * IMED sees standard deviation in tender process * TIB expresses concern over ‘negotiation’ with dropped cos * Experts for flouting re-tender

HP News: Coal Power Generation Company Bangladesh Limited (CPGCBL) has allegedly been keeping efforts to award work to a company that was unquailed in the tender process to supply imported coal for the Matarbari power plant.

Recently, an international consortium participating in tender submitted complaint to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) on Thursday last questioning transparency of the procurement.

In a letter, addressing to Principle Secretary at PMO, the consortium mentioned that all the financial proposals of the four consortiums participating in the tender were rejected without evaluating them.

Pointing out the irregularities and biased behavior in the selection process in the ongoing tender, the letter further stated that in order to reinstate a canceled financial proposal, some related officers and some board members colluded with the special company.

The authorities held a negotiation meeting on June 5 prevailing laws and regulations of the country which is completely unethical and illegal, according to the letter.

Although some officials of CPGCBL talked about the irregularities in the tender process, the investment firm of a cycle project is engaged in a conspiracy to undermine the government’s image with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), sources at the meeting claimed

“The process by which the coal import job is being given will create a very embarrassing situation for the state’s image and foreign investment environment. With the aim of making personal profit through that negotiation, the attempts to give work to the canceled company are going on,” an official of CPGCBL said requesting not to be named.

Meanwhile, last April, the Implementation Monitoring & Evaluation Division (IMED) of Planning Ministry sent a letter to the Senior Secretary of Power Division stating that the standards were not maintained in the tender process for coal import of the Matarbari Power Plant project. According to sources, the process of irregularly giving work to ‘favorite institutions’ for the personal benefit of the project officials, ignoring the government agency’s observation, is in the final stage.

In this regard, Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) Executive Director DrIftekharuzzaman said, “If all the four companies who offered to supply coal were cancelled, then there was a specific logical reason behind it.”

“Their tender may have been rejected for any reason. Negotiating with a single company that has been canceled is a clear violation of procurement policy,”

The head of TIB also thinks that such negotiations with canceled companies are not acceptable even according to international standards.

He also said that there is room for doubt if they try to give work to a single company after canceling the participants in the coal supply tender.

“It is logical to question whether such steps are being taken to favor ‘special quarters’ through collusion and irregularities. So such action should be avoided. After re-inviting tenders following due process, it will be decided which company will be given the job of supplying coal,” added Iftekhar.

In this regard, Energy Expert Prof M ShamsulAlam said that there is no authority to legitimize an institution from among those canceled through executive order for any reason.

“Now the process that they are being given the job is showing their power. Over which they have no jurisdiction. The tender evaluation committee will consider the companies who can fulfill all the criteria by re-inviting tenders,”

According to the project source of the power plant, the commercial production of the second unit of the 1,200 MW power plant at Maheshkhali is scheduled to start from June.

After commercial production from the first unit of the two-unit power plant built with Japanese financial assistance, the second unit has also started trial production. Experimental power generation of the second unit started from December 24 last year, but commercial production of the first unit started from the 26th of the same month.

According to the sources of the organizations that participated in the tender, the four domestic and foreign organizations that participated in the tender process submitted proposals following the proper procedure, but three organizations were initially excluded on the pretext of ‘lack of financial capacity’.

Later, the technical committee meeting on May 27 rejected the financial proposals of all the four consortia. According to the decision of the board meeting of CPGCBL on May 31, considering the national importance in the current situation, approval was given to reconcile the canceled Unique Cement Consortium.

However, one of the three consortiums, which was canceled due to the arbitrariness of the project officials, applied to the senior secretary of the power department for re-evaluation of the tender on May 29. But till now the company has not received any kind of reply.

According to the initial conditions of tender, there was a condition of import experience of at least 12 million metric tonnes of coal, which is a relevant condition for tenders related to coal importation.

But the condition of 12 million tonnes coal management relaxed for giving unfair advantage to a particular company. To favour the venture, the conditions changed to experience in importing metric tonnes of iron, fertiliser, and chemical, cement or food grains is included as a qualification, which creates an uneven competition.

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