The Telecom Equipment Manufacturers’ Association (TEMA) has written to Secretary Department of Information & Technology (IT), Government of India, J. Satyanarayana, objecting to the recent award of tender to RADWIN by Education and Research Network (ERNET).
The tender is related to procurement of Ethernet based Radios for Point to Point and Point to Multi-point communication network for 150 schools across the Districts of Jaipur and Ajmer, Rajasthan .
According to the communication to J. Satyanarayana, TEMA has pointed out the discrepancies in the tendering process for the project in question. From the beginning itself, ERNET executives’ exercised bias towards a particular company by tweaking the specifications in their favour and the Domestic Manufacturers were put at a disadvantage. Subsequently, the evaluation process was not as stipulated in the Tender document and was also not transparent.
TEMA said that According to ERNET Tender, all the quoted Wi-Max or Wireless based Ethernet radio equipment was to be FCC, ETA and WPC approved and the active network equipment was to be TEC approved at the time of bidding. “However, to the best of our knowledge, RADWIN’s equipment was not TEC approved at the time of bidding. Also, the products were not field proven, as it was newly launched product by the Company at the time of tendering. This clearly indicates that the specifications of the Tender were tweaked so as to accommodate RADWIN in particular,” said Mr Ashok K Aggarwal, Honorary Director General, TEMA.
The TEMA communication further pointed out that during 2011, it had sent six communications to the DG ERNET regarding the technical specifications framed by it (ERNET) which were more skewed towards the foreign vendors, particularly RADWIN. “It seems that the specifications were so framed as if to keep the Domestic Manufacturers away from even participating in the tendering process,” points Mr. Aggarwal.
TEMA further raised concerns that while the Tender Evaluation Process was circumvented by ERNET, it did not pay any cognizance to its letters nor did it take any corrective action by revisiting the specifications of the tender so as to make it generic enough to solicit as many bids as possible including the ones from the Domestic Manufacturers’ or to adhere to the prescribed Tender Evaluation process from arriving at the most appropriate solution in an unbiased and objective manner.
TEMA, in its communication has also further requested the Department of IT, Government of India to take appropriate action against ERNET Executives for adopting such a discriminatory line of action against the Indian Domestic Manufacturers and also ignoring Government of India’s Gazette Notification of February 2012 with regard to “Preferential Market Access (PMA)”, which stipulates that in all procurements for Government use, preference must be accorded to Domestic Manufacturers.