Akhilesh’s IT cities fail to strike chord

Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav's idea of developing Lucknow and Agra cities as information technology hubs, with IT cities, has received a poor response at the very first step in the bidding done for selection of a consultant for the project.

Despite an extension of time limit, only one firm has submitted a bid. Therefore, the government has decided to invite fresh offers in order to have competitive bidding.

Exactly a month ago, the UP Electronics Corporation Limited had invited offers from its six empanelled consultancy firms. These were Ernst and Young, KPMG, Deloitte, Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC), Accenture and Feedback Ventures. The first four firms are known as the Big Four in consultancy and the government, in accordance with its IT policy, has to select a consultant from these six firms only. Sources said that none of these firms showed any interest in the project till December 8, which was the last date of submission of bids. The time was then extended to December 18, but only a single offer from KPMG was received.

"Since there is no competitive bidding because of a single bid, selection of any firm as consultant in this situation will not be appropriate. Therefore, another short term tender will be invited," said Prabhat Mittal, Managing Director of UPECL.

Mittal refused to comment on possible reasons for the poor response from these firms which are already providing consultancy services in different projects of the UP government.

Another official explained that the consultant has to draft guidelines, set basic parameters and yardsticks for selection of sites for development of IT cities and also for evaluation of offers from private companies for developing IT cities. "Drafting of guidelines is a very small and low-earning project for the firms of such international repute. Probably for this reason, these firms are not showing interest. They would be more interested in IT city development," said an official.

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