'Tell us if any of our staff ask for bribes': GAIL

Vol 15, PW 11 (01 Dec 11) People & Policy
     

Corruption is endemic in India yet state-owned companies frequently find it hard to detect even among their own staff.

GAIL, however, is trying to set an example by being different. On November 3, GAIL chief vigilance officer Arun Singhal, charged with rooting out internal malpractice, encouraged contractors, vendors and suppliers to report GAIL employees who ask for bribes.

“Tell us if something is wrong when dealing with GAIL,” Singhal told assembled industry representatives during an ‘open house’ meeting. “Your name will be kept confidential during any inquiry.

But you must submit proof substantiating your complaint.” Singhal said GAIL had recently suspended one of its officers after allegations of financial impropriety were confirmed true.

Nearly 300 of GAIL’s regular Project Management Consultants (PMCs), EPC contractors, pipe manufacturers, pipeline laying contractors, and equipment suppliers gathered for the event at its training institute in the Delhi suburb of Noida. GAIL director (projects) RD Goyal and GAIL executive director (projects) Dr.

Ashutosh Karnatak, who shared the stage with Singhal, invited the gathering to speak out against the company. “Jindal Saw Pipes said GAIL must cut down the length of its reverse auction process,” says a source.

“GAIL often drags a reverse auction out for three days!” GAIL, he adds, benefits most from prolonging an auction as bidders sweat and worry and end up dramatically lowering bids, forcing them to work on ‘thin margins’. They also asked GAIL to limit the number of bidders.

“This will eliminate bidders who reduce quotes at the last minute to win,” we hear. “Only serious bidders will participate.

” In a reverse auction, companies compete to win by reducing their original bid price, but cannot see rival quotes. Each company only knows its current ranking, which keeps changing as others lower their quotes.