VIJAYAWADA: Stressing that the State government should not only be transparent, but also appear to be transparent, Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy directed that tenders called for taking up the first phase of New Development Bank (NDB) funded road development works be cancelled.
The Roads and Buildings Department had invited tenders for road works worth Rs 3,000 crore in 13 districts of the State. However, only 25 bids were filed by 14 companies to execute 13 works. Briefing the media here on Saturday, Principal Secretary (R&B) MT Krishna Babu said the due process to call for tenders was followed as per norms while taking up externally-aided projects.
“For transparency, the tenders were posted on Government of India’s e-tender platform also. However, there was poor response from bidders. Though the technical scrutiny might eliminate unqualified bidders, the Chief Minister made it clear that the tender process should be transparent. A section of the media is deliberately carrying misleading reports to raise doubts among people, though the tender process is clean. The CM said there must be no scope for doubts.
Hence, he instructed us to cancel the present tenders and go for fresh tenders to ensure transparency,” Krishna Babu said, adding that new tenders will be invited within a week. “We will analyse the reasons for the not so encouraging response to the tenders,’’ he said. The R&B will reach out to the contractors and ensure that all the eligible participate in the fresh tenders.
If more contractors participate in the tenders, it will save money for the State exchequer and work quality will also be ensured,’’ he said, adding that all the norms of bidding for World Bank project works are followed in the process. “The WB bidding lays a condition if a Rs 100 crore work is taken up. The contractor should show at least Rs 100 crore turnover in two years of the past five years. This is to ensure that the contractor does not look for release of bills periodically from the government and delay the works,” he said.
‘CM wants to ensure transparency’
Krishna Babu said the interest shown in getting tender should also be shown in executing the works. The WB standard bidding document also says that a contracting company should execute at least 80 per cent of the works. This is to ensure that the works are completed in time and quality is not compromised.
“There are several companies which have the eligibility to qualify under this standard bidding and if we can make them participate in the bidding, there is a possibility that more additional kilometres of roads can be laid with the same amount,” he said, adding that Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy had asked them to cancel the tenders to make this happen.
Though the timeline is set (September end), there was no violation of procedures and even as we insisted that the tendering process go ahead, the CM wanted to ensure that transparency is maintained. Krishna Babu said there will not be any problems with regard to funds as it is an externally aided project and assured the contractors that release of money will not be an issue.
“The State government will have a revolving fund of 15 per cent and all the payments will be made within 21 days. R&B engineers will contact all the contractors to instill confidence among them,” he said. The Principal Secretary went on to add that foreign firms do not evince interest in works amounting to Rs 200 crore or so as they have to establish their entire network in the State.
Refuting the allegations that contractors faced difficulties in filing tenders, Krishna Babu said all the 25 companies had filed e-tenders and also hardcopy documents without any fear. “Is there any evidence that contractors were obstructed. Did any contractor claim that anti-social elements prevented him from filing tenders?’’ he asked.
‘NO DIFFICULTY IN FILING e-TENDERS’
Refuting the allegations that contractors faced difficulties in filing tenders for NDB works, Principal Secretary (R&B) MT Krishna Babu said all the 25 firms had filed e-tenders.“It is an e-tender. Anyone can participate in it. Is there any evidence that contractors were prevented from filing tenders?” he questioned