Telecom Equipment Manufacturers Association of India (TEMA) has written to the state government urging it to re-float a new optical fibre cable (OFC) tender. The move follows the earlier representations by individual firms on eligibility conditions of the OFC tender floated by the Tamil Nadu government.

According to TEMA,  the tender should be dropped and re-floated with revised tender eligibility conditions to get the best prices.

In a letter addressed to the managing director, Tamil Nadu FibreNet Corporation Limited (TANFINET), TEMA chairman-Emeritus said that the tender should include preferential market access (PMA) and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) clauses.

According to TEMA, the current tender eligibility conditions ensure no MSME bidder will qualify, whereas at least one MSME bidder, PWCL, has supplied one of the biggest quantities of cables to BharatNet projects and has infrastructure assessment and Telangana State Election Commission (TSEC) for each of the tendered OFC. TEMA said that based on the eligibility conditions of the tender, only two-three manufacturers can supply the cable whereas more than 15-20 eligible bidders will not be able to participate, which could result in project slippages and price escalations due to limited participation.

Additionally, the companies and TEMA have also written to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) to cancel the tender following allegations of corruption.

Some of the TEMA members who had written against the restrictive tender conditions earlier, in their individual capacities, include Finolex, Polycab, Paramount Wires and Cables, Apar Industry and West Coast Optilinks.

The tender was floated in December 2019 and the last date for bid submission is June 12, 2020.