CHENNAI: Now cabs can be operated from the call taxi stand in the Moore Market Complex at the Chennai Central railway station after the Madras High Court has cleared the decks for the operation while calling for fresh tenders from the Southern Railway in six months.Rejecting pleas to quash the earlier tender awarded to Ani Technologies, Justice SM Subramaniam, who disposed of writ petitions from Bharathi Cabs and Fast Track, has extended the contract of ANI Technologies by six months from September 24, 2018 to March 23, 2019.
The tender notification was issued by the Southern Railway on August 2, 2017 for parking and operation of call taxi stand in the Moore Market Complex in 153.6 square metre area. As per the notification, the reserve price fixed was `2.17 crore exclusive of GST. The period of contract was one year. The tender was finalised in favour of Ani Technologies Private Limited, for the price of `60 lakh originally and subsequently, the Railways enhanced the price to `70 lakh by way of negotiations. Accordingly, the acceptance certificate was issued by the Southern Railway on October 26, 2017 in favour of the company. But on account of the status quo granted by the High Court, the above company was unable to operate the services.
“On account of the interim order granted by this court, Ani Technologies was unable to operate the cab services, which affected the public at large, to some extent. Inadequate and insufficient services will lead to exploitations by other operators, including auto operators. Allowing the above company for a further period of one year will also cause financial loss to the Southern Railway. Entirely preventing the same company from operating the cabs as per the selection will also cause prejudice to the company.
Thus, in the interest of all concerned, a balancing approach is required to protect the revenue of the Southern Railway as well as to honour the process of tender already conducted and in respect of the selection of the successful bidder. Ani Technologies Private Limited is permitted to operate the cab services for a period of six months,” the judge stated.
Earlier, Bharathi Cabs, which did not participate in the tender process, filed the writ petition, stating that the Railways had finalised the tender far below the reserve price quoted in the tender. The counsel for the petitioner submitted that though they had not participated in the tender process, it had locus standi to challenge the tender because of the revenue loss to the Railways. Fast Track, which filed another writ petition seeking to quash the allotment letter issued to ANI Technologies, submitted that its bid was rejected on meagre margin and the same was rejected on flimsy grounds and they are already operating the services from the Tambaram railway station.