New Delhi: Making a case for allowing BSNL to go ahead with its Rs36,000 crore network expansion plan, telecom minister A Raja has said negotiations with equipment suppliers after the bidding process had resulted in substantial reduction in prices.
“The Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) guidelines do not rule out negotiations with L1 (lowest bidder) under exceptional circumstances,” Raja said in a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, seeking his help in early resolution of a controversy over BSNL’s tender for network equipment.
BSNL had invited bids nearly two years ago for adding 93 million GSM lines at an estimated investment of about Rs36,000 crore, but the PSU has not been able to place the orders due to various reasons, including legal battles.
Swedish telecom equipment firm Ericsson had emerged the lowest bidder for two regions — North and East, while Chinese vendor Huawei was selected for the Southern region.
According to senior officials in the Department of Telecom (DoT), post-bid negotiations have led to nearly 40% reduction in cost of equipment to be supplied by Ericsson, which is considered substantial, and would help the PSU to compete better in the market.
“Substantial reduction in quoted price ranging up to 40% establishes that these are fruitful,” a source quoted Raja has having written in the letter to Singh.
Raja also brought to Singh’s notice other developments with regard to BSNL’s tender and expressed concern over the PSU’s deteriorating financial health in the last few years.