Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited’s (BSNL) journey has been one of a roller coaster ride in the last few years. The state-run telco is restricted by other government bodies whenever it tries to do something new or expand its business.
The Telecom Equipment and Services Export Promotion Council (TEPC) and the Telecom Equipment Manufacturers Association of India (TEMA) have called out BSNL’s Kochi-Lakshadweep Islands (KLI) project tender to be focused only on the ‘foreign’ vendors.
According to a PTI report, local telecom vendors have complained that the KLI project tender from BSNL does not offer them any business scope. TEPC and TEMA have complained about the same to the telecom secretary Anshu Prakash.
For the unaware, the KLI project from BSNL is worth Rs 1,072 crores. Take a look at the tender norms set by BSNL for the concerned project.
BSNL KLI Project Tender Norms
BSNL has asked for the inclusion of ‘repeater cables’ in the tender. Note that there are only a few foreign vendors that can avail this technology to the telco. Further, BSNL has included a clause requiring a minimum turnover of Rs 1,400 crores.
Further, the clause states that the vendors should have a minimum experience of deploying repeater cable up to 1,000 km in distance with a depth of 3 km.
TEPC has argued that these clauses completely rule out any scope for Indian vendors to be able to participate in the tender.
The official statement from TEPC states that ‘repeatered technology’ is old, and only select companies can support it.
The interesting thing here is that it is not just the Indian companies raising objections, but also the foreign companies. According to a statement from the TEMA chairman, 22 vendors, including Indian and foreign companies, have raised concerns against the eligibility criteria set by BSNL. The companies have said that the criteria is not in line with the CVC guidelines.
TEPC said if Indian companies can’t bid due to eligibility criteria, the ‘vocal for local’ mission won’t be successful.