The Tamil Nadu State Electricity Board’s (TNEB’s) award of an equipment supply contract for the Pykara hydro station has been challenged at the Madras High Court. The contract had been awarded to Bharat Heavy Electricals (BHEL), although the low bid for the equipment supply was submitted by a consortium led by SkodaExport of the Czech Republic and Voith of Austria.

The petitioner has stated that according to the tender specification the Pykara plant, which is located at Masinagudi, requires turbines designed to operate at a head of 1026m. The petitioner contends that similar work has not previously been done by an Indian company, and that the equipment with the highest head installed to date in India — at Suruliyar, in Tamil Nadu — was also supplied by Voith.

The companies that tendered for the Pykara equipment supply were: Cegelec of France; Sulzer & ABB, Switzerland; BHEL, New Delhi; KVA Erler ABB, Germany; and the SkodaExport/Voith consortium. It was found that the tender submitted by SkodaExport was for Rs7.0639B, compared to the Rs7.3885B quoted by BHEL.

The petitioner said that without affording any opportunity to the lowest tenderer, TNEB awarded the contract to BHEL on the basis of a private negotiation.