The Package B of the Bharatnet project in Tamil Nadu is expected to start soon as Chief Justice Munishwar Nath Bhandari and Justice D Bharath Chakravarthy of the Madras High Court dismissed an appeal by Tamil Nadu FibreNet Corporation Ltd (Tanfinet) and upheld the finding of Justice Abdul Quddhose.

Bharatnet has four packages — A, B, C and D. While packages A, C and D were awarded, the award of contract for package B was pending on account of a challenge against technical rejection of the bid of Pace Digitek Infra Pvt Ltd..

Pace Digitek had challenged the rejection of their bid at the technical stage. Justice Abdul Quddhose had set aside the technical rejection against which Tanfinet had appealed.

Bharatnet aims at providing high-speed broadband connectivity to 12,524 Gram Panchayats through Optical Fiber Cable (OFC) in aerial/underground mode and radio. The Package B covers the stretch of Cuddalore, Ariyalur, Perambalur, Dharmapuri, Kallakurichi, Salem, Erode and the Nilgiris.

Date discrepancy

The issue for consideration in the appeal was in reference to the date of the agreement of the consortium November 6, 2020, while the stamps for it were purchased on November 10, 2020. Looking into the discrepancy in the date, the consortium document was not accepted by the appellant herein as per the tender conditions.

A mere mistake in the date given as November 6, 2020, could not have been taken as a ground to reject the bid of the writ petitioners non-appellants, the Order said

The appeal was on the further ground that the earnest money deposit (EMD) was furnished by the member of the consortium, Quadgen Wireless Solutions Private Limited, and not by Pace Digiteck, which was the lead bidder.

The appellant should not have analysed the bid documents hyper technically to eliminate a competitor in the process of tender. It is not even with reference to EMD though the condition to furnish EMD has a consequence and therefore, the matter was examined in detail to find out whether EMD could have been furnished even by one of the members of the consortium.

“In view of the discussions made above, we do not find any ground to cause interference with the order passed by the learned Single Judge. Rather, we find no error therein. Accordingly, the writ appeal fails and is dismissed. Consequently, the connected CMP is also dismissed. There will be no order as to costs,” the Order said.

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