Due to a dearth of qualifying bidders, the state-owned Bharat Internet Nigam Ltd has cancelled a $19,000-crore tender for connecting villages across 16 states with an optical fiber-based high-speed broadband network.
BharatNet, a public-private partnership project, was sanctioned in June last year to put out an optical fibre network in 16 states at a cost of Rs 29,430 crore.
Tender for connecting villages -The project, which planned to connect 3.61 lakh villages across 16 states, received a viability gap fund of Rs 19,041 crore from the Centre.
The project was divided into nine parts, with separate tenders floated for each item.
On February 8, BBNL announced that the tender for the appropriate package “with all its corrigenda is thus terminated on account of non-participation by any bidder” for each of the nine tenders.
BBNL did not respond to an e-mail question submitted to them.
Some firms did participate, according to an official source, and their bids were assessed, but the participants did not qualify.
“After receiving comments from the industry, the tender will be re-issued. The administration is committed to bringing internet to villages as soon as possible “According to the source, who did not want to be identified,
After state-owned enterprises struggled to complete the projects on time and missed many deadlines, the government opted for a public-private partnership.
BharatNet, the National Optical Fibre Network, was approved in 2011 with the goal of connecting all 2.5 lakh panchayats to the optical fibre network by 2013.
The project has now been extended until 2025.
As of December 31, 2021, about 1.69 lakh village panchayats had been made service-ready for broadband services under BharatNet, according to official data. PTI PRS ANZ HRS hrs .
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