Privatisation of UT Power Dept

Administration opens technical bids submitted by seven firms

Committee to evaluate all documents; Adani, Tata among contenders

Dushyant Singh Pundir

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 22

Expediting the process, the UT Administration today opened the technical bids submitted by seven firms for privatisation of the Electricity Department. CB Ojha, Chief Engineer, UT, said the bid evaluation committee would now examine all technical bids. However, the financial bids would be opened after scrutinising all technical bids.

On November 9, 2020, the UT Engineering Department had invited bids for the privatisation of the Electricity Department.

As many as 20 intended bidders were issued the request for proposal (RFP), but only seven companies - Sterlite Power, ReNew Wing Energy, NESCL (NTPC), Adani Transmission Ltd, Tata Power, Torrent Power and Eminent Electricity Power Company - had submitted their bids by the last date on March 18.

However, the UT Administration had recently extended the last date to submit the bids after making some changes in the request for proposal (RFP) conditions in the tender documents.

On a petition filed by the UT Powermen Union, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court had on December 1, 2020, stayed the tendering process regarding the privatisation of the Electricity Department.

The petitioner had contended that they were aggrieved by the decision to privatise the electricity wing by selling 100 per cent stake of the government in the absence of any provision under Section 131 of the Electricity Act, 2003.

The Bench was also told that the process of privatisation could not be initiated at all, especially when it was running in profits. Sale of 100 per cent stake was unjust and illegal as the wing was revenue surplus for the past three years. It was economically efficient, having transmission and distribution losses less than the target of 15 per cent fixed by the Ministry of Power.

However, On January 12, the Supreme Court had stayed the order of the High Court and on January 14, the UT Administration resumed the sale of tender for the privatisation process.

The UT has proposed to give licence to a distribution company, to be finalised after the bidding process, for 25 years under the project.

Meanwhile, the UT Powermen Union alleged that the UT Administration opened the bids in the absence of a nodal officer appointed for the purpose violating all rules and procedure of the bidding system.

Gopal Datt Joshi, general secretary of the union, said in protest against the decision of the Administration, electricity employees boycotted the work and held a dharna before the New Power House, Industrial Area, Phase 1. They marched towards the Transport Chowk, Sector 26, and burnt an effigy of the UT Administration. He said they would hold a dharna on April 7 and, thereafter, a 24-hour strike in all shifts would be observed on April 20.

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