TNR’s ‘Shocking Exposure’
Sourabh Sood | Shimla
Himachal Pradesh State Electricity Board Limited (HPSEBL), which often laments about its losses has nobody but itself to blame.
The state government, which is under a Rs 57,000 crore debt, has failed to keep a check on rampant mismanagement at HPSEBL which has led to inordinate delays in several projects with the result that the cost of all the projects has spiraled by anything between 20 to 50 percent.
Documents with TNR on at least six projects of HPSEBL reveal how the public’s hard-earned money paid to the government as taxes has been wasted.
Work for Rs 1,23,22000 crore was ultimately done for Rs 2,09,97000 crore
Documents with TNR expose the delay of nearly six years in the purchase and installation of equipment and single circuit structure of 11kV and 33kV substations from Bharmour to Gharola in Chamba district. Tenders had been invited for this project on September 20, 2013. The work was to be completed within six months but it was concluded six years later on July 30, 2019. The estimated cost of Rs 1,23,22000 crore was ultimately done at a cost of Rs 2,09,97000 crore.
Project of Rs 6,73,40000 crore is now up for Rs 10,29,00000 crore
Another delayed project was the laying of a 33kV single circuit line from Beolia to Badagaon under the 11kV and 33kV substation of Badagaon. Tenders for this work were invited on April 25, 2016. Work was to be completed in one and half years but it remains incomplete so far. The estimated cost of the project was Rs 6,73,40000 crore. Currently, its cost is estimated at Rs 10,29,00000 crore. This project was to be completed with the Union government grant but due to the delay in execution, it has now to be finished with state government funds.
Every year loss of 2 crore in power generation
Tenders had been invited for maintenance work and supply of new equipment at Rongton powerhouse on July 23, 2012. Work was to be completed in 20 months but it has not yet been finished as of date. The estimated cost of this project was Rs 4.32 crore but due to the delay in the project, the HPSEBL is bearing a Rs 2 crore loss in power generation every year since March 2014.
Estimated loss of 11 crore in project
Tenders for laying of transmission line from Sainj to Chaupal of Lastadhar and constructing a tower and protective perimeter for it was invited on December 28, 2016. Work was to be completed in six months but remains pending. The estimated cost of this project was Rs 7.40 crore. The electricity board had to pay for the loan and interest on the loan from 2013. Loss of Rs 11 crore is estimated due to the failure of the beginning of power transmission.
Loss of 3.30 crore in another project
Work on the installation of various types of equipment in the 132KV transmission line of the proposed Chulla to Kangain substation was commenced on April 25, 2015. This work was to be completed in one and half years but ultimately got done on May 25, 2020. However, the estimated initial cost of Rs 10.24 crore went up to Rs 13.54 crore leading to a loss of Rs 3.30 crore.
Loss of 1.65 crore in another project
Tenders for installation of equipment in the 66-22KV station in Chaupal village of Shimla district were floated on May 29, 2017. Work was to be completed in 14 months but it is still incomplete and in the meantime, the estimated cost of Rs 10.56 crore has risen to Rs 12.21 crore.
Higher rates quoted for equipment
Documents with TNR also reveal the truth behind accusations levelled against HPSEBL officials concerned for favouring tenders quoting a much higher rate than the norm for providing equipment for 33-11KV Kural substation of Baijnath and Palampur substation.
Question mark on surveys and DPRs
HPSEBL former director, finance and personnel, JM Pathania in his letter, on March 27, 2021, to all chief engineers and senior executive engineers made caustic remarks on the delay in the projects and termed it a waste of public money. It has been mentioned that without detailed surveys and proper DPRs the inviting of tenders for the projects had resulted in the loss of crores as well as revenue loss by the board.
Pathania pays for his candidness
Governments have never liked honest officials. Those exposing drawbacks in the system have always been sidelined. Pathania was transferred for highlighting the HPSEBL’s failures and irregularities in the purchase of equipment for various projects. He was transferred on June 23, 2021, just seven months after he was posted as HPSEBL director of finance and personnel on November 13, 2020.