ITIs’ with 1400 KWs solar power pay huge bills to PDD

Fayaz Bukhari
SRINAGAR, Mar 26: A major scam has surfaced in the Technical Education Department of the State where around Rs 34 Crore were spent on the installation of generating around 1400 Kilo Watts solar power plants at 20 Industrial Training Institutes (ITI) across the Jammu and Kashmir but these plants are not functioning properly and the ITI’s have to pay huge electricity bills towards Power Development Department (PDD).
The Technical Education Department  issued an order (under No Edu/plan-Tech/ solar/ poly/2011 dated 10-01-2013) in favor of M/s Power Solar System Limited Bangalore worth Rs 32, 18, 71, 200 for supply, installation, commissioning and testing of solar power plants in 19 ITIs’ across the State. Later on one more solar power plant was added at the ITI Kangan with the capacity of 66.24 KWs at the cost of Rs 1.62 crore.
As per the guidelines, these power plants were to be installed on the roof tops of the ITI buildings but company installed these on land with each ITI contributing over one kanal of prime land. In Srinagar, Jammu, Ganderbal, Kupwara, Kishtwar and Doda where there was no land available they were not installed at all but sources said that the payment has already been withdrawn.
Principal ITI Srinagar, Mohammad Ashraf Bhat said that since there was limited space in the ITI Srinagar at Baghe Ali Mardan Khan, the solar power plant was not installed in the ITI. He said that once the new ITI complex at Zainakote is ready, it will be installed there.
The IITs of Srinagar, Jammu, Baramulla and Anantnag having capacity of 80.4 KWs each and were to be installed at the cost of Rs 1,96,09,800 each and ITIs of Sopore, Budgam, Kupwara, Pulwama, Ganderbal, Kulgam, Samba, Kathua, Poonch, Rajouri, Kishtwar, Udhampur,  R S Pura, Pampore and Doda with the capacity of 66.24 KWs each, were to be installed at the cost of Rs 1,62,28,800 each.
Four companies had applied for installing the solar power plants for ITIs’. These include TATA Solar system Ltd, Bangalore; Vikram Solar Kolkata; Jain Irrigation, Mumbai and Moserbear, Delhi.
M/s Vikram Solar Kolkata was disqualified because the firm had not executed any kind of work on off grid system in the State which was fixed as one of the terms and conditions in the abbreviated tender notice by Director Technical Education.
The tenders of other two bidders, M/s Jain Irrigation Bombay and M/s Mosearbear, Delhi who were fulfilling all necessary codal formalities as laid down in the terms and conditions too were later rejected for un-known reasons by Commissioner-Secretary Technical Education.
Sources said that the two bidders had executed off the grid system work in the State satisfactorily and the bidder M/s Tata Solar system Ltd Bangalore had not executed off grid system in the State.
Sources said that Jammu and Kashmir Energy Development  Agency (JKEDA) was not taken into confidence  for execution of such work as is mandatory for government departments to approach JKEDA for the execution of such work.
As per the terms and conditions it was laid down that 60 percent payment to the company would be made by the Superintendents or Principals of the ITI’s within seven days after receipt or delivery of equipment  at the site with a condition that the material will be inspected by the third party preferably Director General of Supplies and Distribution. Sources said that no inspection was carried out after the delivery and installation of the equipment.
The 30 percent payment was supposed to be released in favor of the supplier by the Head of Institutes after successful installation, testing, commissioning and after monitoring the working of the system for 15 days by the ITIs’.
Sources said that the norms were flouted and payments were released directly from Civil Secretariat without any inspection and load testing of the solar power plants.
The 10 percent payment was to be made in 5 years with 2 percent annually after proper maintenance by the company. One of the Principal’s said that as per the guidelines one office cum service center of the firm was to be established in the State for at least 5 years to provide service to these solar power plants but there is no service available here as the company has not set up the service centre.
Principal of another ITI told Excelsior that solar power plants are not functioning properly and they have to pay Rs 50,000 power bill to PDD per month. The ITIs where these plants are installed have to pay power bills between Rs 40,000 to Rs one lakh monthly. Majority of these solar power plants are not even generating electricity one fourth of the installed capacity.