The Border Security Force (BSF) seems to have tied itself into knots over the ₹20,000-crore Border Management System programme even as it has shelved two pilot projects that were supposed to be awarded to Reliance Infrastructure and Tata Power, citing mismatch in required technologies and budgetary projections.

“The contract for two pilot projects for a comprehensive integrated border management system by the BSF has run into rough weather due to a number of violations in the selection process,” a senior official involved with project, told BusinessLine requesting anonymity.

On February 2 during an internal meeting of the BSF, it was decided that Reliance and Tata will be developing a stretch of 5 km of a village in Jammu and Kashmir, located near the border with Pakistan at a cost of around ₹6–8 crore per km. as part of the pilot project.

However, the official said the pilot project was yet to be awarded to these firms while it seems that the entire project has been abandoned by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).

The Border Management System programme envisaged selection of best available technologies to be tested at two strategic locations, thereby helping the organisation to select the best solution for an extended range of border to be covered.

Tech-budget mismatch

But the project is mired in uncertainties due to the mismatch in the technologies required and budgetary projections, sources said.

It is learnt that the BSF got a sanction at the rate of only ₹1 crore/km instead of ₹6 crore/km cost, which was projected by the industry. The average price quoted by eight bidders was more than ₹7 crore/km, sources said.

Moreover, the official said that none of the bidders qualified the technical phase of the field trials. In total deviation from the RFP conditions, BSF decided to waive minimum 50 per cent score for critical requirements, thereby setting the stage for accepting, solutions not meeting the minimum specifications.

“Clearly the selected solution is far inferior, compared with the best solution available,” the official said.

Also, in the second tranche, two bidders scored equal marks but the price difference is nearly 50 per cent. If approved, this will result in a net loss of ₹7.2 crore to the government, the official added.

The pilot project included cost of deployment of high-tech sensors, including radars and drones, along the borders, the cost of which will be borne by the firms, sources said.