Wheat procurement in Punjab: Defaulting transporters to invite penalty

New cartage policy: Labour payments to be made through RTGS mode only; Punjab govt seeks Rs 28,000 cr CCL from Centre

punjab Updated: Mar 06, 2018 09:45 IST
Gurpreet Singh Nibber
Gurpreet Singh Nibber
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Wheat procurement,procurement in Punjab,Defaulting transporters
Penalty will be 2-5% of the value of contract and the defaulting transporter will not be entitled to any payment, says policy.(HT File)

In its new policy on labour, cartage and transportation for the forthcoming wheat procurement season, the Punjab government has decided to award contracts to labour and construction societies preferentially and impose a penalty on the defaulting transporters.

The penalty will be from 2% to 5% of the total value of a contract and the transporter, who fails to complete an assigned work, will not be entitled to make any payment claim, the policy says.

The government has also made it mandatory to make labour payments through RTGS mode only as complaints of payments not being made as per the PR66 rates have been received in the past.

There are nearly 1,700 labour and construction societies in the state, and they were not given much preference as the labour contractors would bag major cartage contracts, leading to escalation in transportation charges.

Also, the state government has sought Rs 28,000 crore as cash credit limit (CCL) from the Centre for procurement of an estimated 130 lakh tonnes of wheat. In the past, the maximum procurement has been 126 lakh tonnes.

The policy says a labour contactor will be given the second right on a work in case a society refuses to bid in a cluster. The state has been divided into at least 225 clusters.

The labour and construction societies will get contracts on the PR66 rates which in the past were on higher side.

On Monday, the food and civil supplies department decided to invite bids for labour, cartage and transportation for wheat procurement which will start on April 1. The wheat arrival in mandis starts by mid-April.

The policy is applicable on six state procurement agencies – Pungrain, Punjab State Ware Housing Corporation, Markfed, Mandi Board, Punsup, and Punjab state Agro Industries Corporation.

These provisions (of penalty on transporters) were not in place in the past and have been included to cut heavy losses the state government incurred due to inadequate planning. The policy also has the provision of blacklisting a transporter in case of default and forfeiture of security in proportion with the incomplete work.

In March last year, a gap of Rs 31,000 crore was detected with regards to central funds the Punjab government availed for procurement and the foodgrains actually supplied to the Food Corporation of India (FCI) for public distribution system.

State officials say stricter norms will help save mismanagement of funds. In the new document, the earnest money for taking transportation tenders in a cluster of procurement centre has been rationalised.

In a cluster, Rs 10,000 has been fixed for the arrival of less than 10,000 tonnes, Rs 25,000 for 10,001-25,000 tonnes, Rs 50,000 for 25,001-50,000 tonnes, Rs 75,000 for 50,001-75,000 tonnes, Rs 1 lakh for 75,001-1 lakh tonnes and Rs 1.25 lakh for arrival of 1 lakh tonne in a cluster.

Also, the norms for turnover of a transporter and the number of trucks for a bidder have also been rationalised.

The labour and construction societies will get contracts on the PR66 rates which in the past were on higher side.

First Published: Mar 06, 2018 09:45 IST