When retired executive engineer from Tangedco S Neelakanta Pillai used the tender information through RTI, the Coal Wing’s public information officer replied that it was of a limited call for tenders for consultancy work, no BQR (qualification requirement for tenders) was required in the request. “Approval was obtained from the competent authority for the RFQ under a limited bidding process,” said the PIO in RTI’s response.
According to Tangedco, the consultant should analyze and report the feasibility of sourcing imported coal on the basis of a medium or long term contract. “This also includes assessing the landed cost of domestic coal and coal imported from different sources with different modes of transport to the ports of Ennore, Thoothukudi and Karaikal and also to propose strategic options to reduce the landed cost of the domestic and imported coal. It is about preparing the specifications, ”he said. Challenging the power company’s decision to appoint the consultant without going through a normal tendering process, Neelakanta Pillai said that not only BQR but Tangedco even waived the deposit for the MNC. Normally, EMD would be removed for micro, medium and small industries, he noted. “Consultants would be appointed on the basis of their expertise and past performance in the particular sector. For the import of coal, Tangedco did not even ask the past performance of the company before naming it, ”he said.
A senior Tangedco official said there had been no procedural violation in appointing a consultant. Asked about the need to import coal in the medium to long term, the official said that the supercritical thermal power plants being installed at North Chennai Stage III and Uppur are designed to operate with coal having a maximum ash content of 26.5%. “The next three 800 MW units will require a constant supply of imported coal that would be blended with domestic coal to run these plants,” the official added. Meanwhile, two units at the Thoothukudi thermal power plant were shut down due to low coal stocks on Tuesday after the Hyderabad-based company that won a tender for importing coal in 2019 failed supplied 1.20 lakh ton of coal since March of this year.