Tender ‘tweak’ muddies the water for Buddha Nullah revival plan
Tender favours a particular firm, says CEO of Punjab municipal infra devp company, additional chief secy (local bodies) says proposal drafted before he joined deptUpdated: Jun 08, 2020, 01:36 IST
The ambitious Rs 650-crore Buddha Nullah rejuvenation project, cleared by the state cabinet in January this year, has run into controversy, with an IAS officer accusing his superior and additional chief secretary (local bodies) of manipulating tender in violation of central vigilance commission norms to favour a particular firm.
Ajoy Sharma, chief executive officer of Punjab municipal infrastructure development company (PMIDC), has put in writing his reservation to a file noting in March.
In his objection, Sharma stated that the tender was restrictive and favoured a particular firm, with ACS Sanjay Kumar not recording the pre-bid facts properly. HT has accessed the file noting.
The CEO’s observation has forced the chief minister’s office and chief secretary Karan Avtar Singh to intervene in the matter. It is reliably learnt that the CMO will monitor the tendering process of the project as a senior officer of the finance department has also flagged the same issue.
As per documents, Sharma, while referring to a note in file, said it does not objectively captures the proceedings of the February 24 meeting wherein it was clearly told to the ACS that due to the certain pre-conditions in the tender, it had become restrictive. Due to restrictive conditions, most reputed companies --- Tata, Larsen and Turbo, Ramky, WABAG, Triveni and others --- will not be able to participate in bids”.
As per the pre-condition, fixed by the local bodies department, the bidder has to secure a particular technology for which only one vendor was available in India. This made all the bidders dependent upon a particular vendor of having that technology. It is mandatory to tie up with the technology provider before filing the tender, reads the document. All major bidders raised objections to it and asked for using proven technology available within India and even worldwide to increase competition. However, the ACS remained firm on the technology provider pre-condition, said sources.
When asked, Sharma admitted that he had reservations but refused to divulge details by saying, “I won’t give any comment to the media on this issue”.
Sanjay Kumar was appointed as ACS, local bodies, on recommendations of local bodies minister Brahm Mohindra. Sources said the chief secretary had called both Ajoy Sharma and Sanjay Kumar and told the latter to address the objections raised in file. When asked, Kumar said: “The objections (raised by Ajoy Sharma and bidders) have been addressed, and fresh terms and conditions for bidding have been sent to the finance department for approval. Once approved, it would be uploaded on the department website to call technical and financial bids.”
On tender condition of a tie-up with “technology partner”, Sanjay said: “The request for proposal (RFP) was made before I joined the department, so how can they blame me for that. Earlier, I was not aware that this condition would limit the competition. However, when the matter was taken up with me, I dropped the pre-condition. I have no intention to favour anyone.”