New Delhi: Sify Technologies Ltd has emerged the lowest bidder for an ambitious project to connect 30,000 post offices and other centres of the department of posts (DoP) across the country.

The move, confirmed by an executive at the company and two other executives at rival firms that had bid for the contract, will be a windfall for Sify, which lost Rs51.9 crore on revenue of Rs688.7 crore in 2010-11; the order is worth Rs767 crore over seven years. None of the three executives wanted to be identified.

Raju Vegesna CMD, Sify Technologies Ltd. File Photo

The project is part of the Rs1,877 crore modernization programme of DoP that was approved by the Union cabinet last year. DoP has broken up the plan into eight components and has been bidding them out.

According to newspaper reports, India’s second largest software services firm, Infosys Ltd, has already emerged as the lowest bidder for two of DoP’s contracts—the financial services systems integrator contract (said to be worth Rs700-750 crore) and the rural information and communications technology system integrator contract (worth Rs100 crore).

The financial services system integrator will enable DoP to install 1,000 ATMs, and allow mobile- and Web-based access for customers of banks and financial services firms.

The Sify official added that the contract would “provide a huge fillip" to the firm and claimed it had been making losses for the past few years because of substantial investments in data centres and technologies such as cloud computing. He said the company makes operating profits.

Sify, once part of Satyam Computer Services, decided to bid for government contracts only last year.

Neel Ratan, executive director of audit and consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, said the network integration order would be the backbone of DoP’s modernization programme.

“All the other projects would draw from this. The core of the modernization is that good integrated services are available at 30,000 locations and unless they are connected, it has no meaning," he said.