The Madhya Pradesh Urja Vikas Nigam has roped in a company owned by the state energy minister’s family for solar plant installation, inviting criticism from the opposition parties, especially Congress. However, brushing aside all the debate, the minister and his family have said that the process of getting the contract was absolutely transparent.
The Urja Vikas Nigam has ensued a project worth Rs 180 crore for the development of solar power plants. It has been reported that the company Infinity Energy Solutions, owned by the daughter and daughter-in-law of the state energy minister Paras Jain, have already started working on the same and completed Rs 3 crore worth of work.
Paras Jain is the Power and New and Renewable energy minister of Madhya Pradesh state government, whose daughter Swati and daughter-in-law Pooja jointly run the company.
The Urja Vikas Nigam had issued a tender for the installation of rooftop grid for the first time in June 2016. Less than a month later, Infinity Energy Solutions got the Sales Tax TIN.
According to the opposition parties, the deadline of this tender application was extended not once but twice under tremendous pressure from Paras Jain, which allowed Infinity Energy Solutions to participate. The tender, however, was finally awarded in December last year for the installation of a 30-MW solar plant worth Rs 180 crores.
When inquired about the opposition’s stance, Pooja said:
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There was complete transparency in the tendering process. The tenders were issued online and we got orders because we had quoted the lowest rates.
Meanwhile, Paras Jain, who has been the energy minister of the state since June 2016, technically oversees the Urja Vikas Nigam. When asked him about his own family members working on the project, he dismissed the possibility of any scam and said:
First of all I have nothing to do with the tendering process. The company was formed before I became the energy minister and secondly there was complete transparency in the tendering project. I just want to ask one question…do children of ministers have no right to do business with transparency and as per law?
The Congress, however, did not seem satisfied with the reply and alleged it to be yet another scam in the Shivraj Chouhan government. The Congress spokesperson K K Mishra said:
What transparency is the minister talking about, it is his department in which his family members are being awarded tenders worth crores. The minister should immediately resigned as the chief minister talks about zero tolerance for corruption.