Ramjattan calls for probe in contract awarded to Indian company
US$4M drainage pumps…
Indian-based company, Surendra Engineering Corporation Limited, which was controversially awarded the construction of the US$18M Specialty Hospital, is late with its delivery of 14 large capacity drainage pumps, and it is unlikely that they will come before this year ends.
AFC’s Leader, Khemraj Ramjattan, is demanding that the company be penalised for late delivery by a pulling of its performance bond.
“I just hope that it has an executable performance bond in the first place,” said Ramjattan, in an obvious reference to the recent allegations that Surendra Engineering did not have a proper performance bond when it was awarded the contract to construct the Specialty Hospital at Turkeyen.
The US$4M agreement for the pumps was signed in May 2011 between the Ministry of Agriculture, under the then Minister, Robert Persaud, and Surendra Engineering. The company was awarded the contract over Indian pump manufacturer, Kirloskar, which was aggrieved with tendering procedures and award of that bid here in Guyana.
The pumps were to be initially delivered since December 2011, and an extension was granted to September 2012.
According to Ramjattan, an investigation should be launched to determine how exactly Surendra Engineering was awarded the contract, as information indicates that the company does not even build pumps in the first place.
The company is reportedly sourcing the components of the pumps from the US and would be assembling it before shipping it to Guyana.
“My information is that the components are not even in India as yet. The pumps are likely not going to be here before February 2013. Guyanese officials have to go to India to see it tested and none has as yet gone,” Ramjattan said.
An official of the Indian High Commission had told reporters that the pumps were due in by September month-end this year.
“What would be interesting to find out is whether the agreement signed between Guyana and Surendra included penalty clauses and whether government intends to invoke same. From all appearances, this company is specially favoured,” Ramjattan opined.
The pump project was made possible under a special line of credit from the Indian Government and was described as one of the largest boosts to the country’s resources to help face the growing threat of flooding, especially to the coastlands.
Together with the assets of the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo), the country would be boasting a capacity of almost 100 pumps, inclusive of both fixed and mobile, officials of the Agriculture Ministry said last year. The contract is for the supply of eight fixed pumps with the remaining six being mobile ones.
Surendra Engineering was awarded the construction contract valued some US$12.5M for the Enmore Sugar Packaging Plant, again under an Indian Government line of credit, but had run into problems too with that contract. The plant is still to be completed to the satisfaction of GuySuCo. Ramjattan said he is aware that GuySuCo’s Board was so dissatisfied with the construction that 30% of the contracted price has been held back from payment, although there are certain Government officials (whom he named) who are lobbying that Surendra be paid.
“Why would some officials want that company to be paid when it has not delivered? Moreover, these officials are aware that GuySuCo has blacklisted Surendra from supplying spare parts to Guyana’s sugar factories because of the quality and of the parts, and the untimely deliveries. And the supply of spare parts for sugar factories is its core business in India,” Ramjattan questioned.
The pumps would be critical to meet medium and long term plans to manage the effects of climate change, which over time has been threatening the country. Each pump will have the capacity of discharging up to 200 cubic metres of water per second. Current pumps have the capacity of 150 cubic metres per second capacity.
Surendra Engineering, in addition to supplying the pumps, was responsible for the provision of technical support and training.
The pumps are earmarked to service an estimated 60,000 acres of land and areas like Windsor Forest, Huntley, Black Bush Polder, and Lima on the Essequibo Coast were identified as sites for their location.