According to domestic telecom gear makers, BSNL has included norms that restricts their participation in Rs 10.72 billion Kochi-Lakshadweep Islands (KLI) submarine cable project.

In this regard, Telecom Equipment and Services Export Promotion Council (TEPC) and Telecom Equipment Manufacturers Association (TEMA) have written to the telecom secretary Anshu Prakash that the norms in the tender floated by BSNL may attract only single bid that too from a foreign player.

Furthermore, the industry bodies have objected to the inclusion of repeater cables in the project. TEPC said that the technology is supported by only a few foreign companies and only one of them has submitted bids in the previous two tenders floated by BSNL. Besides, TEPC has also alleged that clauses like turnover of over Rs 14 billion, the experience of deploying repeater cable for at least 1,000 kilometres with a depth of 3,000 metresetcare restrictive in nature and should be tuned as per minimum parameters set under chief vigilance commission guidelines.

Meanwhile, TEMA in the letter said that against all odds the pre-bid was attended by 25 companies, including 15 Indian companies, on March 25, 2021.In addition, TEPC added that even the advice of empowered technology group (ETG), through PSA to the government was sidelined, leading to a possible hat-trick of single bids. Further, it added that TCIL had also recommended repeaterless technology for the entire Kochi Lakshadweep Project.The industry body said that ‘vocal for local’ can only happen, if Indian companies are encouraged by making them eligible to bid against foreign competition.