Mumbai The bids submitted by Tata Motors for purchasing 1,400 single decker electric buses was rejected as they deviated from tender conditions, the Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) said in its response to the petition filed by Tata Motors challenging the rejection of their tender.
The high court had on May 17 asked BEST to respond to the Tata Motor’s petition, filed through Karanjawala & Company and Lexicon, challenging the May 6 order of the civic undertaking to disqualify the company from the tender for supplying 1,400 electric buses on account of alleged deviation from tender specifications.
On Monday, before a division bench of justices PD Naik and Abhay Ahuja, BEST contended that the petition was baseless and ought to be dismissed.
The affidavit, filed by Deepak Kottari on behalf of BEST, stated that the tender submitted by Tata Motors was not as per the format and schedule prescribed in the tender application document.
The affidavit further stated that the petitioner had sought certain deviations in the tendering process that could not be allowed.
Kottari further stated that as the court had not granted any relief to the petitioners, BEST had gone ahead with the tendering process and issued Letters of Acceptance to another bidder for supplying 2,100 electric buses.
The affidavit, while referring to the March 11 pre-bid meeting, stated that the petitioner had sought certain deviations but the same was rejected along with the deviations requested by other applicants and the same was conveyed through the minutes of the meeting. However, Tata Motors had filled the tender as per the deviations sought by them in the meeting hence their application had been rejected.
It was also pointed out that as the deviation was not as per the tender requirements there was nothing wrong with the rejection of their bid.
Tata Motors had sought a 200 km range on a 75-minute charge and had also sought testing of the buses to be done as per standard, which was not proposed by the utility in its tender stipulations.
After briefly hearing the submissions on behalf of BEST, the counsel for Tata Motors sought time to respond to the affidavit that the bench granted and posted the matter for further hearing on Friday, May 27.
Hyderabad-based Evey Trans private limited won the BMC bid and the firm will be sourcing the buses from Olectra Greentech.
Olectra Greentech Limited on Monday confirmed that it has received the order of 2,100 electric buses from the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST). The 2,100 electric buses will be given on wet lease and the value of the order is ₹3,675 crore.
“This is the biggest order in Indian electric mobility history. The order is to supply the 2,100 electric buses on Gross Cost Contract (GCC) for a period of 12 years. The buses will be delivered over a period is 12 months,” Olectra said in a statement.
The BEST neither confirmed nor denied the development of the order on Monday.
The new electric buses sought by the BEST are part of a larger fleet of 4,000 electric buses which the state government intends to roll out across six major cities in the next three years, with the help of clean air funds obtained on the recommendation of the XV Finance Commission for tackling air pollution.
HT was the first to report last year that Maharashtra plans to spend a bulk of these funds on electrifying public transport, particularly mass transit facilities, as per its EV Policy 2025 notified last year. Of the ₹2,981 crore obtained on the recommendation of the XVFC, a clean 80% (or ₹2,218 crore) is proposed to be spent on this task.
The EV Policy aims to bring 1,46,000 new battery-operated electric vehicles (BEVs) on state roads by 2025, estimated to comprise about 10% of all new vehicle registrations by that time. In 2019-2020, 7,400 EVs were registered in the city, which increased to 9,461 in 2020-21. After the government rolled out its EV Policy last year, 24,215 vehicles were registered, as of March 2022.
“The clean air funds will support only a fraction of our e-mobility plans,” said an official with the BEST, seeking anonymity.
“We are aiming to have about 900 new electric buses on the streets by August this year, and 10,000 electric buses, including single and double-decker, in Mumbai by the end of the financial year 2025-26. We currently have 386 single-decker electric buses operating in the city. BEST’s entire fleet will be electric by 2027 and half of it will be done by end of 2023,” the official said.
(With inputs from Prayag Arora-Desai)
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