Karnataka contractors’ body writes to PM Modi, complains of corruption
The Karnataka State Contractors Association on Thursday shot off a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi alleging that they are made to cough up around 25-30% of tender amount to elected representatives and others before starting works, which indicates corruption continues to engulf the southern state.
The letter, the association stated, was to highlight the “miserable plight” of working contractors in the state as well as remedial measures to be taken.
“The contractors face (an) unhealthy atmosphere and are discouraged to taking up the works of Roads & Buildings. They are facing untoward and ugly situation in getting the tender works in various department like public works department, minor & major irrigation, panchayat raj engineering, Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike, health department, etc,” stated the letter.
In the letter, they allege that the concerned minister “insist and harass’ payment of 5% on amount put to tender before approval while a few elected representatives demand 3% before starting of works.
In district and taluks, the association said, there are demands to the extent of 5% on buildings and 10% on road works.
The letter comes at a time when the Basavaraj Bommai-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government as well as the administration under his predecessor, BS Yediyurappa, has come under the scanner for alleged corruption in all departments.
The allegations come even as the anti-corruption bureau (ACB) continues its raids on officials from various departments during which money and valuables were recovered from mid-level officials including those hidden in drain pipes and other places.
The Bommai government also faces allegations of money laundering through Bitcoins and other crypto currencies -- a charge that the chief minister has denied.
The contractors association also alleges that the provision of directly allocating funds without tenders has led to a situation where aides of elected representatives in neighbouring states are causing losses to original registered contractors within Karnataka.
“The injustice in tender conditions through e-procurement portal in various local contractors by departments is injurious to the registered local contractors,” they said in the letter.
“Thus, the local registered contractors of our state have (to) pay to the extent of 25% to 30% (for elected representatives & others) of the tender amount before starting the works. Such being the position how (will) the contractor undertakes good work,” the letter stated.
After the allegation surfaced, chief minister Bommai on Thursday said all tenders will be scrutinised despite the fact that the letter by the contractors does not provide any specifics.
“When tenders are scrutinised, everything will come out. If there has been any irregularity or other anomalies, it will come out in the investigation. But in the letter, they have not given any evidence or specific case or any number. They have written a general letter. But even then I have asked that an inquiry be conducted. That department’s chief officials have to scrutinise the tenders, especially after our government came. What more transparency than this is required,” Bommai said.