The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Marathon meet to streamline telecom gear purchase plan

New Delhi, June 11: The Union communications ministry has asked both Bharat Sanchar Nigam and Mahanagar Telecom Nigam to streamline the purchase of telecom equipment after a four-hour long meeting with the Telecom Equipment Manufacturers Association (Tema).

Communications minister Arun Shourie said he would hold another round of talks with Tema this month-end to finalise the details of the procurement process.

“I had met Tema members who pointed out the problems in delayed tendering by the two public sector companies and suggested ways to solve the problems. We also suggested ways to solve the issue amicably and improve the procurement standards,” said Shourie.

He said a committee has been constituted consisting of Tema members and officials of the department of telecommunications, BSNL and MTNL to examine the issues like linking prices.

Tema president Narender Kumar Goyal said: “The meeting was useful for both the government and the industry. It is important that the government takes these issues seriously since any future growth of hardware in India and to face the competition from China will depend on the financial health of the telecom hardware manufacturers.”

Shourie said it was important to bring about transparency in the procurement of equipment since the CAG has pointed out certain faults in the existing process.

“Linking prices has become a major headache for the department and this has been pointed out by the auditors. For example, if an equipment supplier has failed in one telecom circle to get the bid, he dumps the equipment at the lowest price in the bid invited by another circle to clear the stock. The CAG has asked why the difference in price when the bids have been conducted within a 15 to 30 days gap,” said Shourie.

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