Raha praised by Aiyar for stand in awarding contracts

Vol 8, PW 15 (20 Oct 04) People & Policy

Its not often that the political boss of a state-owned company pats the company chiefs back encouraging him to teach a lesson to fellow politicians! On 5th October, Subir Rahas plush 6th floor office in Delhis Jeevan Bharti building received a fax from the ministry.

The fax was an article from The Economic Times and had something scribbled on it. Dated 7th September, the article extensively quoted Raha who had issued a public warning to ONGCs vendors and suppliers not to apply political pressure to secure business from the company.

I am delighted at your initiative to thwart political intervention in the determination of contracts, Aiyar had written by hand on the press clipping. Congratulations! No statistical proof exists but it is believed that political interference is the highest at ONGC to get a contract among all state-owned companies.

Last month Raha issued a stern warning to vendors saying that ONGC would ban vendors who used political help to pressurise and influence ONGC management for the award of a particular contract. Not everybody is ready to take Aiyars praise for Raha at face value.

You can never trust these politicians, says an ONGC official. Perhaps he is genuine but can anybody explain the several letters that land in our office from the ruling Congress party itself seeking favours including award of contracts.

Last month, Raha told an oil and gas symposium in Mumbai that, There are bidders who try to sabotage the process and then complain that ONGC takes too long for the contracting process. We may be forced to ban such bidders irrespective of how long they have been associated with us.