It is alleged that the tenders proceedings of Kochi Corporation are favourable to contractors. While the contractors gain a lot by getting tenders at a throwaway prices, the Corporation coffers are emptying. The Corporation will lose `2 crore in the next three years with the awarding of a tender to exhibit advertisement boards on sodium vapour (SV) lamp posts while `25 lakh will be lost in the tender awarded for maintenance of street lights. The SV lamp posts tenders went to Vibin Johnson for `125 per lamp in the eastern parts of Kochi and for `11 in western parts. However, the last time, these two were quoted at `495 and `9 in the eastern and western parts, respectively. The loss for the civic body will come around to `2 crore on this tender alone. This is not the first time that the SV posts of Corporation have entered into a controversy. Recently, two officers were suspended and a Vigilance inquiry was initiated after anomalies were found in the awarding of permission to exhibit advertisement on SV lampposts.
The tender for maintenance of streetlights has been given to a bidder, Santhosh, at a rate of `37,11,348, which is greater by `25 lakh than the tender given four years ago. However, the corporation authorities said there was nothing inappropriate in the tenders. “We got only one bidder for the SV posts despite floating the tenders thrice. Many SV lampposts on profitable areas had to be removed owing to Metro-related works. So, no one is willing to take up the tender. We have asked KSEB to cut the rates for us, which will reduce the running cost per posts, so there won’t be much of a loss for the Corporation,” said Deputy Mayor B Bhadra. She said the equipment and labour cost have gone up during the last four years and this was the reason for the disparity in the quoted rates for streetlight maintanence. However, it is unclear why the authorities did not include a comparative study on the rates while presenting these bids in the council. And, owing to this the councillors are unaware of the previous rates at which these tenders are quoted. It is also doubtful whether the local fund audit department of Corporation will approve these transactions.