BSNL told to speed up Rs 13k crore network project
KOLKATA: Telecom secretary MF Farooqui has asked Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) to speed up its processes and award contracts to two vendors within a couple of months to supply devices for a Rs 13,000-crore communications network the company is building for the armed forces.
Farooqui directed state-run BSNL to award the contracts “either in the 60:40 or 70:30 ratios”, according to an internal telecom department note seen by ET. The telecom secretary’s comments come during a recent project review. He wants the whole tendering process completed before the next quarterly review meeting likely in the next 60 days.
The project also involves creation of an optic fibre network. BSNL has proposed the names of three state-owned gear makers — ITI, Electronics Corporation of India and Bharat Electronics — for supplying the necessary devices, including encryptors used for meeting the confidentiality parameters of the proposed secure communication network, the note said. But Farooqui asked BSNL to check with thedefence ministry if ITI has the requisite capacity to manufacture critical devices like encryptors.
“The state-owned telco will also seek the defence ministry’s views on ways to price such devices for procuring them from central public sector enterprises on a nomination basis,” bypassing the bidding route, said a telecom department official with direct knowledge. A top BSNL official said that the company was doing its best to hasten project implementation. Farooqui’s missive to BSNL comes amid a huge delay in building the promised communications network.
*Source: Times of India