THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The LDF government is likely to cancel the contract awarded to PricewaterhouseCoopers for the Rs 4000 crore e-mobility project following the central CPM leadership's directive.
The decision comes in the wake of government planning to cancel the consultancy appointments in the Space Park under the IT department. However, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan defended his Government’s stand maintaining that contract and consultancy appointments are mandatory in special circumstances.
It should be recalled that Opposition Leader Ramesh Chennithala had raised an allegation almost a month ago against PwC being roped in to prepare a Detailed Project Report after the finance department had not given the nod with the project to have 3000 electric buses. The allegation had created a dent in the image of the LDF government when the Opposition brought out a slew of documents on the minutes of the e-mobility State-level task force held on 6 Dec. 2017 which was attended by Dr. Ashok Jhunjhunwala, union railway minister's adviser.
11 top officials including the then Chief Secretary had attended this meeting which reveals that Jhunjhunwala had highlighted the practical and technical difficulties of the e-mobility project from being implemented where 3000 electric buses were scheduled to be brought. Pinarayi had come down heavily against the Opposition stating that PwC was not having a ban and only its auditing section had Securities and Exchange Board of India's (SEBI) ban.
Incidentally the transport minister A. K. Saseendran was not aware of this contract much to the embarrassment of the LDF Government. On Saturday, Saseendran told TNIE that he had also come across such a report of the LDF Government is most likely to cancel the contract awarded to the PwC on the e-mobility project.
“Yes, I have also come across such a news report. But I have nothing much to say further at this juncture”, said Saseendran.
The central CPM leadership has decided to discuss in their central committee meeting on Saturday regarding taking a call on the consultancy contracts awarded by the LDF Government. Pinarayi Vijayan had taken a contradictory stand on awarding contract appointments and consultancy appointments compared to the negative stand of the central CPM leadership.
Meanwhile in the reply addressed to Chennithala, Pinarayi informed that in special circumstances when appointments are sought for a year in infrastructure and IT fields, applicants having technical know-how are hired, process integrity is ensured. Pinarayi said these are not state government appointments which need not be notified before the Public Service Commission.