BHEL restricts supply of steel only to Indian cos

Dhaka,  Thu,  21 September 2017
Published : 13 Aug 2017, 14:57:41

Rampal power plant: BHEL restricts supply of steel only to Indian cos

FHM Humayan Kabir
The Indian contractor responsible for constructing the controversial Rampal power plant in the Sundarbans has blocked participation of local companies in the bids for supplying steel for the plant, insiders said Saturday.

They said the tender floated by the contractor has only allowed Indian companies to submit bids for supplying steel to build the 1,320-megawatt (MW) power plant at Rampal.

The Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL) floated the tender for procuring steel for the coal-fired Rampal power plant in south-western district of Bagerhat.

The Bangladesh-India Friendship Power Company Limited (BIFPCL) has appointed BHEL to build the thermal power station, which has evoked serious criticisms by environmentalists and others for its faulty site selection.

Sources said the company selected by the BHEL for supplying steel will get tax benefits.

Some local steel manufacturers said they are not allowed to participate in the tender due to conditions set in the tendering by the BHEL.

As per terms and conditions, only the Indian companies will be able to participate in the bid which is totally unethical and unacceptable for Bangladeshi manufacturers, they added.

"We have enough capacity to supply steel for the Rampal Power plant. We are supplying thousands of tonnes of steel to some big projects like Padma Bridge and Rooppur Nuke Power Plant. But we cannot participate in the bid," said an official of a renowned local steel manufacturing company.

BHEL, in a clause of its tender, said: "The bidder should have integrated blast furnace in India with minimum annual capacity of production of steel of 50,000 MT (metric tonne)."

This clause in the tender document has prohibited Bangladeshi or any other company in the world for participating in the

tender, said another steel manufacturer in Bangladesh.

Former President of Bangladesh Auto Re-rolling and Steel Mills Association Sheikh Masudul Alam Masud told the FE since the procurement is for a Bangladeshi project, the local manufacturers should supply the steel.

"Bangladeshi companies are capable enough to participate in any international tenders with their high quality products. So, why the contractor of a project, located in Bangladesh, is allowed to purchase steel from outside the country," he asked.

"As the Indian suppliers will get tax exemptions for their export, they can even manage to supply steel more than the quantity mentioned in the tender. And that could easily sneak into Bangladesh's market," Mr Masud feared.

He said they have already requested the authority concerned in Bangladesh to restrict such procurement and called for ensuring open tendering for all so that local companies also can participate, the former President of the Association said.

When contacted, a senior official at the BIFPCL in Dhaka told the FE that they had already been informed about the limited tendering of BHEL for steel procurement.

Some local furniture manufacturers and steel producers have already informed the BIFPCL that the BHEL has invited limited tenders for several procurements from the Indian market only, he said without quoting his name.

"The BIFPCL has urged BHEL to go for open tendering for procurement so that any company can participate in the bid," the BIFPCL official told the FE.

The BIFPCL signed an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) agreement in July 2016 in Dhaka with BHEL to set up the 2x660 MW Maitree Super Thermal Power Project at Rampal in Bagerhat district.

The contract value of the project is $ 1.49 billion, which will be financed by Indian Exim Bank.

The plant is expected to generate power by the financial year 2019-20.
Editor : A.H.M Moazzem Hossain
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