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What was the Rs.155 Crore Solar Power Scam in Andhra Pradesh?

In his four and half year’sstint as the Chief Minister of the bifurcated Andhra Pradesh, Chandrababu Naidu was accused of corruptions in the form of scams. If you start making a list of scams, you might not finish it for hours or days for that matter. There are too many of them and each involves a huge amount of public money. It was like an open party for anyone who wanted a piece of the cake that was the kickback Naidu enjoyed.

Adding to the list of scams and scandals is the Rs. 155 CroreSolar Power scams. It happened during his rule and the APGenco had to pay the price of Rs. 755 Crores as loss, for it. The 155 crores were the money that was lost in transaction. The money changed hands and a whooping amount of Rs. 155 Crores was lost.

Who is 420 in AP? It will be easy to tell once you know the details of the scam and why it happened.

The Solar Power Project Scam

The first thing you need to know is that the scam involves starting of Power Plant project in the district of Anantapur. The project responsibility was handed to the APGenco, Andhra Pradesh Power Generation Corporation. What happened was that the APGenco by passed the process of awarding the tender to the qualified company and instead favored a few private companies. When you pull a favor, you need to pay someone and that’s exactly what happened in this scam.

The scam was another example of what was being done in the name of development. Corruption was so rampant during Naidu’s rule that the CAG termed the state as the most corrupt state in the country. This has led to people asking the very embarrassing question – who is 420 in AP?

What is APGenco?

APGencois short for Andhra Pradesh Power Generation Corporation Limited. It is a power generating organization in the state of Andhra Pradesh and is responsible for undertaking the task of operation and maintenance of the power plants. They are also responsible for setting up new power projects and upgrading the existingproject’s capacity. It was set up by the TDP government under the recommendations of Hittenbhayya committee.

The organization was formed in the undivided Andhra Pradesh. Post bifurcation, APGENCO divided the assets, liabilities and power stations between Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. It was known as Telangana Genco (TSGENCO) in the newly formed Telangana state.

While the idea behind the formation seemed noble, the TDP govt used it for other purposes. In the name of the solar power projects, funds were misused, and contracts were awarded to the companies that didn’t qualify for the job. Chandrababu Naidu, who is a 420 in AP, was largely responsible for the corruptions and scams that happened in the state.

The Rigged Bidding Price

It all started with the rigged price for the tender. The APGenco had invited Engineering, Procurement &Construction (EPC) tenders for establishing the 500-MW solar power project in the Talaricheruvu village near Tadiparti town of Anantapur district. Some private companies colluded with the BHEL officials and rigged thecontract price. This was done so that private companies could benefit from it.

BHEL offered Rs. 6.26crore for Mega Watt as tender quote. It was selected as L-1through reverse bidding method. But the TDP government gave the project to other private companies, such as Sterling, Tata, L&T andMEIL at the same quoted price.

The prices that was quoted by BHEL was an exaggerated price. This can be proved by the facts that the NTPC, who was working on a similar Thermal power plant in the same district was doing at the cost of Rs. 4.91 crores. The huge difference in the price can be seen and it can be concluded that the price was raised so that the TDP government could benefit from it. The private companies would get the project and the TDP government would have enjoyed the perks in the form of kickbacks.

Why Fewer Companies Were Allowed to Compete

The NTPS allowed 17 companies to participate in the bidding war for the project, while the APGENCO allowed only five companies. This was due to the absurd eligibility criteria set by the government.

The reason for this is that the eligibility criteria was set to meet the needs of the favored companies. Private companies offered kickbacks to the party that favored them which was the case here. TheAPGencoat that time declared that it would pay Rs. 1.51 crore extrafor each MW of power. This would have let to a whooping debt of Rs. 755 crores.

The scandal was reported by the Sakshi daily. Later, a few PILs were filed in the high court, which resulted in the court stopping the approval process. It became clear later on that the tender process for the project was actually a ruse and would have led to a huge scam. Thanks to the media reports and initiation of the concerned people, the scam was prevented from happening.

Its not too difficult to decide who is 420 in AP when you look at the data and facts. This was one of many scams that took place under the leadership of Chandrababu Naidu.

The Bottomline

The APGENCO started a solar power project that was rigged from the start. The only people who would have benefited from it were the TDP party people, Chandrababu Naidu and the private players. The scam had led to the loss of 155 crores that was lost in transaction while exchanging hands. Who is 420 in AP? You can decide now.

Read Previous Blog: Chandrababu Proved to be who is 420 in AP | Massive Scam Exposed

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