I Just read a news story that Arvind Kejrwal is looking into the corruption cases in the JAL Board Delhi and a related news item that some engineers were suspended.
I wondered as to why such a routine and insignificant(?) case is being attended to by the CM of Delhi.
I did some search and found that the issue of Corruption in JAL Board Delhi is not as insignificant as I imagined.
I seem to have missed out this altogether.
Or is it that the Media has not covered it as the case deserves?
I suspect so.
Here is the take on Jal Corruption.
This corruption involves World Bank , appointing consultants to Delhi Water Board.
To the uninitiated, it is the practice of Governments to appoint consultant for a new Technology/Process.
The operation involves floating technical specifications, Commercial Bid and final selection.
To secure the business the competing firms appoint Liaison Officers, Project Consultanats.in plain language ‘The Fixers” who find out what percentage is to be given to whom, what to quote and in general facilitate the winning of the Contract.
I have a post on this process.
Now to Jal.
In getting a Consultant for a Project of Rupees 168 Crore, the Foreign Consultants suggested by the World Bank would amount to 108 Crore, 60% of the project Cost.
This came out during through RTI.
“RTI documents revealed that the DJB had approached World Bank in 1998 for a loan to upgrade its water utility services to Delhi. The bank suggested that they hire a multi-national consultant who would ‘suggest’ basic reforms for the DJB to carry out. The bank offered a $2.5 million loan to DJB for hiring the consultant. States Arvind Kejriwal, “Delhi has 21 water zones. The management of each water zone was to be given to four experts for each zone at a salary of Rs25,000 per month which is Rs11 lakh. The per annum cost of the salaries would come to Rs108 crore. The total budget of the DJB was Rs168 crore thus 60% of the money would be spent on salaries on foreign consultants. Roughly estimated, this would lead to nine times increase in water tax for Delhites.”
RTI documents further revealed how the World Bank arm-twisted DJB to favour a particular multi-national company. The DJB invited tenders for which 35 consultants applied and six of them were to be short listed. An evaluation committee consisting of senior officials of the DJB ranked them in order of merit as per the World Bank guidelines. PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) was curiously termed as a ‘desi’ company because it bid from its Kolkata branch but was ranked 10th. However, the World Bank arm-twisted the DJB to prop it up to the 6th position. States Mr Kejriwal in a protest letter that he wrote to the World Bank after studying the documents, “This provision was misused to bail out PWC as it was treated as an Indian company because the branch of PWC which had applied is incorporated in India. Thus, PWC featured amongst the top six short-listed companies.
Mr Kejriwal’s letter to the World Bank further states: “Thereafter, technical and financial proposals were invited from the six short-listed companies. A company needed 75% marks in technical evaluation to qualify. An evaluation committee, consisting of senior officials of DJB, evaluated the proposals on the basis of the criteria given in World Bank guidelines. PWC again failed. Only two companies, namely Deloitte of USA and TAHAL of Israel, got more than 75% marks.
“The results were sent to the World Bank for their “no objection”. The bank was strangely dissatisfied with the results. It nevertheless blatantly displayed its interests in PWC. It demanded an explanation from the DJB as to why did they give such low marks to PWC.” DJB was stunned at this reply from the World Bank and in a note, the official placed on record that he strictly abided by the World Bank norms and no company procuring below 75% could be eligible for procuring the contract. If PWC is considered, the official wrote in his internal correspondence, it would go against the principles of transparency and would cause great embarrassment to the DJB.
DJB opposed this arbitrary interference but the World Bank bullied it into revising the criteria, audaciously stating this was not the first time it had so intervened”