Following an expose in the City Express on the violation of tender norms for ‘Renovation of Legislative Assembly hall incorporating installation of audio/video (AV) and AC systems’ that was doctored to suit a particular bidder, the state government has quashed it and the Karnataka PWD department has re-tendered it with immediate effect.
The City Express story published on October 1st had outlined how the tender process worth Rs 7-9 crore had been manipulated by the department to keep reputed manufacturers and contractors including a GOI enterprise, Broadcast Engineering Consultants India Ltd. (BECIL) out of the race to favour a particular contractor. The earlier tender did not permit partnership or formation of consortium for execution of both AC and AV systems which as bidders claimed were totally different branches of engineering, thereby, nullifying the participation of reputed firms from the country. The Karnataka PWD has now come out with a modified eligibility criteria. There are only two major items : Speaker Conference System and AC. The new tender states that the bidder should have prior experience of having executed either of similar works directly and for the other works, they can have tie ups with another company. Now, contractors who have executed similar such works particularly for assembly and Parliament can participate in this tender.
Speaking to City Express, BECIL GM R Narasimha Swamy said, “We are writing a protest letter to Speaker K. G. Bopaiah regarding the framing of the conditions in the new tender, which is a desperate attempt to not only keep BECIL but also reputed AV integrators, away from bidding for the contract. We will raise the issue during the pre-bid meeting scheduled on October 17th.” However, he maintains that with the new tender many people can bid.
It may be recalled that following the diamond jubilee celebrations in June this year, the Karnataka Legislative Assembly will be witnessing a major renovation work at a cost of Rs 17 crore beginning this month. The Karnataka PWD department which is the implementing authority had recently called in for tenders that includes works including civil, electrical and installation of audio-video systems. The works have to be completed by December end and the renovated hall is expected to host the Joint Session of the Legislature in January.