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Bus stop controversy revived

CONTROVERSY ON construction of stops for the City bus service came to the fore again with Mayor-in-Council (MiC) revenue in-charge Shankar Yadav questioning how a work order was issued when the matter was sub-judice.
None | By HT Correspodent, Indore
PUBLISHED ON JAN 23, 2006 03:42 PM IST

CONTROVERSY ON construction of stops for the City bus service came to the fore again with Mayor-in-Council (MiC) revenue in-charge Shankar Yadav questioning how a work order was issued when the matter was sub-judice.

Yadav, in a missive to Indore Municipal Corporation (IMC) Chairman Shankar Lalwani, pointed out that Ad-World, the second highest bidder for the contract to build 150 bus stops, had moved the court alleging violation of tender conditions. How, then, did the IMC issue a work order before the court had delivered its verdict, the MiC member demanded to know.

Yadav’s missive is the latest in a series of controversies that have dogged the bus stop contract ever since the City bus service proposal was revived. In the thick of things is MiC member in-charge of Public Works Lalit Porwal. He has earned wide opprobrium for dusting up a bid submitted in July 2004, when City buses were first proposed during Kailash Vijayvargiya’s tenure instead of inviting fresh tenders for the project.

Surprisingly, Ad-King, the firm awarded the contract, was only asked to raise its rate by 5 per cent over the Rs 12.50 per square feet charged by the Corporation in 2004 when the bid was made.

This, even though the IMC administration
decided to hike advertising taxes 21/2 times to Rs 30 in March 2005 with an incremental increase of 20 per cent per year. Furthermore, Ad-King was awarded a build-operate-transfer (B-O-T) contract for the bus stop for 15 years even though tender conditions made it clear that only individuals or firms granted an A-2 or higher contractor classification by the Corporation.

All others were to be granted a contract for a maximum of five years. Asked about his missive Shankar Yadav tried to downplay the issue declaring that he had written ‘only a few lines’ to the IMC Chairman. MiC member Porwal, on the other hand, was unequivocal.

“Absolutely no rules or laws have been either broken or transgressed in awarding the contract. This is why it was cleared by both the MiC and general council,” he concluded and declined to answer further queries.

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