CHENNAI: Residents claim that the Chitlapakkam Town Panchayat did not transparently collect bids for three projects worth almost Rs 24 lakh, by placing a drop box at the office. By failing to follow norms, residents alleged that the Panchayat may have pre-fixed the bids.
Tenders for construction of an Anganwadi building, placing a water tank with motor and relaying of a road, were floated on February 11 and were to close at 3:30 pm on February 27 (Wednesday).
However, around 3 pm on Wednesday, Chitlapakkam Panchayat Executive Officer Venkatesan, who received a recent promotion, left the office for the day instead of opening the tender in the presence of bidders.
This has raised eyebrows of local residents who have been carefully monitoring the tender process followed by the Panchayat. “The fact that there is no box to receive bids, shows that the EO knows that the contractor has been fixed,” said S Yuvraj, a resident.
An RTI petition seeking details about contracts awarded from December 2017 and August 2018 shows that just two contractors have been awarded 28 of 31 contracts. When contacted, Chitlapakkam EO Venkatesan said that the bidders box had been placed in his office. “I placed the box in my cabin so it could be safe,” he said, claiming that the number of bidders for projects has dwindled over the years.
While placing the box in his office, where access is restricted, is by itself an offence, many residents who visited his office said that there was no bidding box in his office.