Bozankaya: Right to Reply
October 25, 2021 at 11:00:00 AM
Bozankaya's reply to the article
“Suspicions of corruption in bringing Turkish trams to Iasi”
Published by Top Iasi
The article published on October 10 contains false and slanderous information in the shelter of the author's anonymity and of the uncertainty of the source of the information, in its content being used subtitles that do not reflect the opinion of an authority and that are not based on official documents or addresses sent by the competent authorities. For example, the statement of the editorial board, which is totally unfounded, "The government recognizes that the Turks do not have the required documents in the EU," is particularly serious.
The statements of the author and the majority shareholder of Astra Vagoane Calatori, Valer Blidar, in the article published by Top Iași, from the 10th of October („Suspicions of corruption in bringing Turkish trams to Iasi”) are unfounded and biased and are exclusively based on speculations that present rigged details, taken out of context in order to mislead the public. In this regard, Bozankaya is making the following clarifications:
1. The source quoted in the article, without presenting concrete information, makes unfounded speculations, regarding the homologation process of the Bozankaya trams, ignoring the fact that the tests of the trams are performed by laboratories accredited and notified in the European Union or RRA (Romanian Railway Authority), and the components of critical importance used in the construction of Bozankaya trams are provided by well-known producers in the railway industry in the EU (ABB, Knorr-Bremse, GHH-Radsatz <Bonatrans>, etc). Moreover, these components are used mainly by most manufacturers of trams/rail/metro, Europeans and Romanians.
2. The fatigue test for the critical components of the bogies is carried out in accordance with all the requirements of EU standards by the accredited German supplier; moreover, the specific in situ tests, mandatory for all trams, are performed in loading conditions (which simulate the weight of the passengers).
We make this clarification because the article presents at its discretion details regarding the homologation in the European Union, abstracting that Romania is part of it and that at the EU level there are numerous bodies and laboratories notified for the certification and testing process - Romania has accredited laboratories for testing and measurements in accordance with the requirements of the MRA-CIPM (International Committee on Measures and Weights) agreement on the exact metrological traceability of the measurement results, and the testing procedures are performed only in accordance with the requirements of the European standards in force.
In reality, all imported trams, without exceptions, regardless of the area from which the manufacturer comes, are obliged to obtain the railway technical approval granted by RRA for putting into circulation. There are no derogations from this procedure, the trams not being able to be received or registered in order to be put into circulation without this technical approval.
For readers, we would also like to state that RRA (Romanian Railway Authority) is the only specialized technical body of the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure, accredited to issue authorizations both for domestic producers and for imported trams.
It is unfortunate that the quoted source speculates on unfair competition at the auctions in which the quoted Romanian manufacturer, Astra Vagoane Calatori, did not participate.
We mention that the operator Astra Vagoane Calatori, as a participant in certain procurement procedures filed appeals on issues that it subjectively considered permissive in award documents. However, its requests regarding the conditions of homologation were rejected as unfounded both by NCSC (National Council for Solving Complaints) and later, by the Bucharest Court of Appeal, being considered restrictive in relation to the governing legislation of national and EU public procurement.
It is obvious that most of the trams purchased in the auctions (from EU or non-EU producers) are not mass-produced, in stock, they are adapted to the local requirements and needs of each municipality. Obviously, the trams require the technical approval granted by RRA and not "doubtful approvals" or the acceptance of standard trams in the absence of documents, as the article tries to mislead readers.
The procedure is standard and RRA does not derogate from the certification procedures.
The contrary statements of the author of the article and of the quoted source are unfounded and irreverent for all parties involved, both for the contracting authorities, tram manufacturers, and for the Romanian Railway Authority (RRA). Also, the truncated interpretation of other articles from the local press of Timisoara, which objectively presents the situation, implies an unfortunate way of lack of fair play and transparency in informing the public.
For compliance, in the case of the Timisoara tram, the mandatory tests were performed by accredited laboratories, established in Germany, Spain, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, and by the Romanian Railway Notified Body (RRNB). The final reports of the tests and verifications approved by the technical staff of the tram beneficiary, Timișoara Municipality / Timișoara Public Transport Company, were submitted to the Romanian Railway Authority.
The statement that “the City Hall there admitted that no tests are performed according to the safety requirements of the EU” is incorrect and not in accordance with the public statements of the Timisoara City Hall, being the strict interpretation of the editorial team.
RRNB (Romanian Railway Notified Body) is an independent body within RRA, notified to the European Commission, and is not a body with attributions in the homologation, being accredited exclusively for verifications, tests/measurements, European Commission conformity certification.
An important clarification to be made is regarding the award criteria of the procurement procedures referred to. Contrary to what is stated in the article, the award method is not based on the "lowest price", but based on a cumulative score related to the technical and financial proposal, published in the award documentation verified ex-ante and endorsed by NAPP (National Agency for Public Procurement).
Submission of tenders, communications, and publication of the result of the procedure approved by NAPP is made exclusively by open tender in the public platform SICAP (Collaborative Information System for Public Procurement) accessible in accordance with EU provisions, both by Romanian and foreign operators, and scores for compliant bids are made automatically by the application depending on the factors in the bids. The results of the two procedures mentioned by the quoted source were not contested by any economic operator, Romanian or European.
Allegations regarding the source of financing for the project in which the trams were purchased should be reconsidered by the editorial staff because the financing from non-reimbursable ROP (The Regional Operational Programme) funds subjects the procurement procedures to double verification standards in order to reimburse the expenses.
The tram delivered to Iasi is in the last tests and in-situ verifications, for which teams of experts from the notified bodies of the European Union arrived there.