Polavaram and Electric Buses: Quid pro quo
Can Chandrababu prove it?
Did Mr Chandrababu Naidu create a special budget in the name of Polavaram Quid pro quo? The government of India sanctioned as an incentive to electric buses only Rs. 3545 crores for the next three years. But, Mr Babu accusing Rs. 7500 crore scam in electric buses. Can anyone understand the Babu’s motive in these allegations? Even though, the state government does not have any freedom and power to purchase or lease the electric buses, why Babu is claiming that the state is buying the buses? In fact, he wants to come out of the irregularities and corruption allegations; came out with these unrealistic accusations on the state government and the ruling party.
When APSRTC does not have any intention to buy the Electric buses, how can it possible to buy the buses from Olectra? As the losses are mounting for APSRTC, the state road transport corporation stopped the purchasing new buses and running on a lease basis for the past few years. Even now, the corporation is following the method as per the DHI guidelines. Telangana, Maharashtra, Kerala, Karnataka, Himachal Pradesh and many other states transport corporations are procuring the buses from companies like Olectra. When Chandrababu Naidu in the power, on 3rd May 2018 he himself travelled in the Olectra electric bus and praised the company’s efforts in bringing environment friendly buses. He also promised to run the electric buses in various cities and towns in the state along with Tirumala-Tirupati. He also promised to buy electric buses in a big number.
Now, he is accusing that the APSRTC is buying electric buses on Quid pro quo basis. Olectra Greentech is the subsidiary company of the Megha group. Megha Engineering took part in the Polavaram tender and quoted 12.6 less to the base price. Unless the court clears this tender, the state government cannot award these works to anyone. But,Mr Chandrababu Naidu and his party senior leaders accuse that the state government is giving Rs. 7500 crore on the quid pro quo basis to the Megha Engineering by buying the Olectra buses.
APSRTC does not have the policy to buy the buses. The government of India under the FAME-2 policy framework sanctioned 350 buses to the Andhra Pradesh. As per the policy framework, all the states are procuring on a gross cost contract basis. This contract will apply for 12 years at a predetermined price per kilometre basis. The electric buses should run 3.98 crore kilometre in a year. Initially, the government wants to pay Rs 39 per kilometre. But whoever quotes the lesser rate, the government will go with the agreement. For this purpose, the financial bids will be open on 14th October 2019.
Tender value only Rs 144 crore. Where is Rs 7500 crore quid pro quo?
APSRTC preparing the budget with Rs. 144 croreoutlay to wet-lease the buses. Even though RTC came out with a clear budget plan, Mr. Chandrababu accusing of Rs 7500 corruption in the tendering process. No one knows whether Olectra will get this tender. Even if Olectra gets all 350 bus contracts, the value of the contract is approximately Rs 144 crore per year. After meeting the operating costs, Olectra may get profit or even a loss. Even the company gets 350 buses GCC order, the whole tender amount will not be a profit. That is the only turnover for the company. For the next five years, with this contract, the company may achieve a turnover of Rs 720 crore. As a shareholder of the company, Megha Engineering will get this amount. In this background, Mr. Chandrababu Naidu must explain how an Rs. 7500 crore quid pro quo is taking place.
When Mr Chandrababu Naidu in power, there are several allegations that his party colleagues were benefited to the extent of Rs. 2400 crore in Polavaram works. The new government appointed an expert committee that proved the allegations with relevant evidence. The expert committee report has proven the corruption and irregularities took place in TDP government. Even the prime minister Mr Narendra Modi accused that the TDP government used Polavaram Project as ATM. The past government also did not complete the project by December 2018. They did not even begin the rehabilitation process. In this background, bidding for a lower rate leads to ire to the Mr Chandrababu and his associates. As corruption allegations on Mr Babu proving, to nullify the allegations he came out with Quid pro quo card once again. The yellow media also helped him to promote the quid pro quo allegations. They came out with unrealistic allegations and creating an environment people to believe.
The government of India allocated Rs. 10,000 crore for the next three years for electric mobility in the country. The department of heavy industries (DHI) released the guidelines to procure 7000 electric buses for all state transport corporations. The government of India also sanctioned Rs. 3545 crore incentives to the states. Buy, Mr Chandrababu accused double to the allocated funds for whole India. The DHI sanctioned 350 buses to Andhra Pradesh. As per the guidelines, the annual budget will be around Rs. 144crore. According to this outlay, APSRTC is come up with a procurement e-tender. With this RTC is expected to save about Rs 1000 crore per year. The industry bodies are surprising with Mr Babu’s allegations.
Along with Olectra, Tata Motors and Ashok Leyland also manufacturing electric buses in the county. In a recent pre-bid meeting, about 27 representatives of 18 companies participated. Most of them are does not have the experience in running the buses in hills of high altitude areas like Tirumala Tirupathi ghat roads. Olectra already have an experience of successfully running the buses highest altitude Manali-Rorathang pass and entered LimcaBook of Records.
The DHI selected 64 cities in the county for the electric mobility and sanctioned the incentives. All states must adhere to the guidelines of DHI and follow the e-tendering process to procure the buses. According to these directions of DHI, the APSRTC called for the tenders. In this regard, APSRTC released a 237-page draft concession agreement and a 110-page request for proposal for selection of an operator for procurement, operation and maintenance of 350 AC electric buses. If anyone reads these documents will know the reality in Mr Chandrababu’s allegations. The selections of buses, incentives, the number of buses and all related rules and regulations are prescribed DHI. The state transport corporations must follow these guidelines to get the incentives. Even the cities also selected by the DHI. Whoever quotes the less rate per kilometre will be awarded the tender on a wet-lease basis. Anyone can get out of 18 companies participated in the pre-bid meeting. In these conditions, APSRTC cannot award the contract at their discretion.
Olectra buses are successfully running in various states. The technology partnership with BYD of China Olectra manufacturing the electric buses at their Shadnagar plant. Olectra electric buses well-received performing better than the other buses. Andhra Pradesh is now considering utilising the central governments’ benefits and introduces the electric buses in the state. Even after this clear policy guidelines Mr Chandrababu Naidu is accusing with politically motivated intentions.