Controversial Harbin gets nod

The cabinet purchase committee on Wednesday approved construc

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tion of the 250-megawatt coal-fired power plant in Barapukuria.

Chinese company Harbin, that had triggered a lot of controversy during the tenure of the last BNP-led government by setting up a low-quality power plant in Tongi, was selected to build the power plant.

Meanwhile, the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council approved construction of a 13.32-kilometre elevated expressway linking the capital’s Shantinagar and Dhaka-Mawa road under public-private partnership initiative.

Of the total route, 6.43 km will have four lanes while the rest will have a two-lane road.

The expressway will be connected to the Mouchak-Moghbazar flyover.

The expressway will go over the existing roads at Shantinagar, Paltan, Fulbaria intersection, Naya Bazar intersection, Victoria Park, Babu Bazar and Buriganga second bridge, and will end at Jheelmil housing project beside Dhaka-Mawa road.

When asked about recent fuel price hike, Finance Minister AMA Muhith said the parties like Gonotantrik Bam Morcha does not have experience of ruling the country. So they can call hartal.

But, party like BNP could not call hartal as it has experience and could understand the reality.

He was talking to journalists after a meeting of the purchase committee at the cabinet division.

HARBIN AGAIN

The company was picked as the qualified bidder out of two participants, although according to well-placed sources, the entity’s bid in last June was so flawed that it should have been disqualified without detailed evaluation.

On top of that, the company’s price offer was higher than that of other bidder CMC. Yet Harbin was shown as the lowest bidder.

Sources said the bid offers of Harbin and its joint venture partner CCCE were subject to rejection clause and there was no justification of accepting any of their offers.

Harbin did not mention the prices of three items — an auxiliary transformer, cables and balance of plant — in its offer. This means that the company had not taken these items into consideration while making their financial offer.

On the other hand, CMC had categorically mentioned the prices.

Harbin also did not provide the PDB with the end user certificate to prove its experience in building at least 100MW coal-fired power plant.

Both the bidders gave clear financing terms in which CMC’s arrangement of loan gave more advantage than Harbin’s offer. CMC’s loan spelled out 3.5 percent interest rate for 15 years, while Harbin’s 4.3 percent for 13 years.

Despite this clarity, the PDB tender evaluation committee in October sought clarification from both the bidders allowing Harbin to change its financing terms. This time Harbin’s interest rate was lowered to 3.25 percent.

As per tender rules, the authorities cannot allow a bidder to change its financial configuration.

Consequently the PDB committee evaluated the per kilowatt power construction price offer of CMC at 941.8 dollars and Harbin’s 908.96 dollars, making it the lowest bidder.

This prompted the CMC to lodge its complaints with the power ministry and the Central Procurement Technical Unit (CPTU). But at the last moment, the CMC withdrew its appeal to the CPTU and it was quashed on December 26.

Earlier, the ministry had sought PDB’s explanation on CMC’s complaints. The PDB pleaded that it had not violated any rule in selecting Harbin and the power ministry accepted the account.

The power ministry will today be seeking the cabinet purchase committee’s approval for awarding the contract to Harbin under a buyer’s credit totaling a project cost of Tk 2,039 crore. In buyer’s credit system, the bidder arranges the loan on behalf of the government.

In 2005, within an hour of its inauguration — the Tongi 80MW plant built by Harbin tripped due to technical glitch.

During the tenure of the last caretaker government, the local agent of Harbin filed an extortion case against Giasuddin Al Mamun, friend of BNP Senior Vice Chairman Tarique Rahman, among others, claiming that they took Tk 5 crore to award the Tongi power project. The hearing of this case is yet to be completed.

The Eastern Refinery Ltd in August 2006 had blacklisted Harbin for failing to build a 3MW plant as per contract.

Source: The Daily Star

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