Petitioners contend that KSEB’s decision would jeopardise the safety of the people because accidents due to breakage of poles with low workload were increasing at an alarming rate in Kerala
A Division Bench of the Kerala High Court has quashed the tender floated by the KSEB for procuring electric poles of 8 m length with a working load of 140 kg.
The Bench, comprising Chief Justice S. Manikumar and Justice Shaji P. Chali, passed the verdict while allowing a public interest litigation filed by one Mohammed Nizar and two others from Palakkad.
The court made it clear that the board could invite tenders in accordance with its earlier decision for procuring poles of 8 m length with a working load of 200 kg.
The petitioners contended that the specification, as provided in the tender notification, was against the working load of poles of 8 m length with 200 kg workload as stipulated by the Rural Electrification Corporation Ltd. as well as the earlier decision taken by the KSEB Ltd. All States, except Kerala, were following the workload specification while installing 8-m poles. The total cost for the contract came to around ₹254 crores. The KSEB’s decision would jeopardise the safety of the people because accidents due to breakage of poles with low workload were increasing at an alarming rate in the State.
The court noted that the board at one point of time was of the clear opinion that breakages were caused due to the flaw in structural design of 8-m poles. It was then accordingly decided to change the specifications to 8 m with 200 kg workload but the board had taken a sudden deviation later.
This action would have to be viewed with greater suspicion taking into consideration the larger public interest. Therefore, the decision of the board to proceed with the tender for procuring 8-m poles with a working load of 140 kg could not be sustained under the law, the court observed.
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