BTCL giving work to foreign firm without tender

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Tuesday, 01 October 2013

Author / Source: ANISUR RAHMAN KHAN
DHAKA, SEPT 30: The Bangladesh Telecommuni-cations Company Limited
(BTCL) is going to award a work order to a foreign firm without floating
any tender, thus ignoring the public procurement rules (PPR).
This
will result in possibility of a loss of Tk. 24 crore for the BTCL,
sources said.

It has been alleged that a section of BTCL higher-ups are trying to give
the work order to a Turkey-based firm, Nortel Networks Netas, for
installation of the Dhaka-Cox’s Bazar submarine “Backhaul”, linking the
submarine bandwidth  from Cox’s Bazar to Dhaka and upgrading its
capacity to 200 GB/s from 40 GB/s for high-speed data transmission.
When
contacted, BTCL managing director M Kalimullah said, “The decision has
been taken by the company’s board of directors (BOD) and the PPR has not
been ignored in this regard.”
“There is a provision in the PPR to
award work order directly to the company concerned, considering the
extension of the ongoing project work without inviting any tender,” he
added.
Telecommunications ministry sources said the former BTTB had
signed an agreement with a Turkish company, Hazefibale, for installing
the link on October 30, 2005, but the BTCL’s 64th board meeting showed
that the agreement was signed with the Nortel Netas.
The BTCL had
signed an agreement on June 8, 2008, for Tk. 14.50 crore with the Nortel
Netus, while the BTTB had signed an agreement with Hazefibal for Tk.
28.5 crore for the project, the sources added.
The BTCL, in its board
meeting, showed that the agreements were signed with the same company
and the meeting had approved that the Nortel Netus would be responsible
for upgrading the link, according to the sources.
Most BTCL employees, however, described the BOD decision as a big “forgery”.
The
sources also said that though the BTCL’s backhaul capacity was 70 GB/s,
the capacity was mysteriously shown as 40 GB/s only in the BOD meeting.
Six ITCs (International Terrestrial Cables) have already entered the
market and the demand of submarine bandwidth is declining day by day,
the sources added.
The economic life for the BTCL’s Backhaul link had
been calculated up to 10 years in 2006, the sources said, adding,
“Eight years have already gone. Only two or three years are remaining.
It would have been appropriate for installing the new generation
submarine Backhaul link, instead of the current project, through open
international tender which would have saved Tk. 24 crore.”
When
contacted, posts and telecommunications secretary Abu Bakar Siddique
said, “There is a direct purchase provision in the ongoing project as
per the PPR.
The board will look into the matter if there happens to
be any irregularity in giving the work order to any company by the
BTCL,” he added.
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