Refuting the Opposition United Democratic Front (UDF)‘s allegations of flouting of tender norms and inflated costs in the implementation of the Kerala Fibre Optic Network (KFON) project, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan told the Assembly on Monday that the project did not entail any financial liability for the government, as the maintenance costs and loan repayment would be from the revenue earned through the network’s industrial operations.
He mentioned the challenge implementation was awarded to a consortium led by Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL), beneath the Union Ministry of Defence, and consisting of Railtel, SRIT, and LS cables, after conducting detailed challenge critiques and acquiring mandatory approvals.
Administrative sanction was accorded for a complete challenge price of ₹1,028.20 crore, together with upkeep price of ₹104 crore for one 12 months. But, within the tender course of, the operation and upkeep price for seven years was additionally included. As per this, the upkeep price was ₹728 crore. However, the BEL consortium had quoted ₹363 crore for a similar.
The consortium was thus chosen for implementing the challenge at a complete price of ₹1,628.35 crore, which included GST additionally. Misleading allegations had been now being raised by taking into consideration simply the upkeep price for one 12 months, as a substitute of that for seven years. The allegation that the federal government would undergo a lack of ₹500 crore was baseless because it didn’t have any monetary legal responsibility , mentioned Mr. Vijayan.
AI digital camera challenge
Meanwhile, Industries Minister P. Rajeeve termed baseless the allegations levelled by the UDF relating to corruption within the challenge for putting in Artificial Intelligence (AI)-powered cameras on the State’s roads.
Speaking within the Assembly through the dialogue on the supplementary calls for for grants, Mr. Rajeeve mentioned outcomes confirmed that the State might take satisfaction within the surveillance system. There was a drastic fall within the variety of highway accidents and accident deaths after the cameras had been put in.
Karnataka, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu had despatched groups to check Kerala’s expertise with the AI cameras, he mentioned. There was no foundation within the Opposition cost that the challenge concerned corruption to the tune of ₹232 crore, he mentioned.
The Minister additionally drew consideration to a examine undertaken through the Oommen Chandy authorities’s tenure for putting in surveillance cameras. A ₹79 crore CAPEX mannequin and a ₹150 crore BOOT annuity mannequin with assured quarterly funds for 5 years had been studied on the time, he mentioned.
Leader of the Opposition V.D. Satheesan accused the Minister of skirting the actual difficulty which centred on the large-scale monetary irregularity concerned within the challenge. The State suffered a loss because it obtained outdated cameras within the place of cheaper, superior ones. Objections of the Finance Department had been bypassed to safe the deal, Mr. Satheesan mentioned including that corporations had shaped a ‘cartel’ to safe the contract.
The UDF staged a walkout within the Assembly in protest towards the federal government’s reluctance to order investigation into the AI-camera and KFON initiatives and the allegations relating to the monetary transaction between Cochin Minerals and Rutile Limited (CMRL) and Exalogic Solutions Pvt Ltd, the corporate run by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s daughter T.Veena.