Absence of high mast light giving rise to theft cases
Nagpur: The Koradi Thermal Power Plant with the capacity of 1980 MW is sprawling over 600 acres of land, but it does not have top quality high mast light tower in its vicinity. As a result, theft of power house property, like, copper, steel, brass, iron material and other items is on the rise. Maximum theft is taking place in respect of scrap material lying unattended in tons and costing in lakhs of rupees. The security staffers are believed to be having nexus in theft cases in the plant area.
It may be recalled that some alert workers of L&T Company in letters written to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Union Minister Nitin Gadkari on April 13, 2015 had brought to their notice that under the pressure of Mahagenco project director Chandrakant Thotave, the then chief engineer of the project, Pankaj Sapate, had committed financial irregularities in the tenders invited for high mast. According to technical sources in Mahagenco, the cost of high mast light tender should have been assessed as Rs 1 crore, but under the pressure of project director Thotave, the then chief engineer deliberately got its cost raised to Rs 2 crore (in fact Rs 1.90 crore) and accordingly prepared the estimate, with terms and conditions got prepared in favour of some acquainted company.
According to well a planned conspiracy no other company could accept the said contract of high mast light tower in entire Maharashtra. The high mast contract was thus raised by 8% more and cost was fixed at Rs 2.70 crore, and finally the contract was sanctioned in favour of the company (Balaji Associates), rejecting the price bid and technical specification bid of other companies on the ground that they did not qualify the terms and conditions. The competitor company then lodged a complaint with the Chief Minister. Similar irregularity was committed on earlier occasions, and there being loud cries of injustice committed, the doors of high court were knocked. As a result, the tender was cancelled then.
Before work-order of high mast light was issued, the Chief Minister issued verbal orders to the principal secretary (Energy) in April 2015 to conduct a probe into the irregularity. Following this, the managing director of Mahagenco directed the chief engineer (Tech Vigilance), Electricity Headquarters Dharavi (Mumbai) to probe.
According to available proofs, the chief engineer (Tech Vigilance), Dharavi (Mumbai) wrote a letter to Nana Kambhale (Zilla Parishad member) on May 2015 to verify the facts as contained in the complaint. Thereafter, Nana Kambhale wrote a letter on May 25, 2015 to the chief engineer (Tech Vigilance) providing him the information he had sought. In his letter he had demanded that the delay in the process of probe as well as dilly dallying tactics be enquired into. But, under political pressure, the case file has been buried.
During probe, it was also revealed that under the project director Thotave’s pressure, similar irregularities were committed in the works of construction of security walls around the project and the contract issued for levelling the ground in project area.
Besides, s serious irregularity has been committed in construction of security wall around the under-construction 500MW x 2 (1000 MW) project at Chandrapur Thermal Power Station, and also in its high mast contract allotment. It is alleged learnt that Mahagenco and vigilance department are trying to hush up the whole issue. When Kambhale sought the development report from the chief engineer (Tech Vigilance department), he got the reply that the report would be handed over to the managing director of Mahagenco, and it is the responsibility of Mahagenco administration to take suitable action in the matter.
Rajeev Ranjan Kushwaha (rajeev.nagpurtoday@