BHUBANESWAR: Uncontrolled tender fixing and the growing menace of mafia in Kendrapara district has prompted the Water Resources (WR) Department to seek intervention of the State Police. With criminal elements issuing threats to bidders in the coastal district, Principal Secretary to Water Resources Department PK Jena has written to Home Secretary Asit Tripathy seeking necessary action to stem the rot.In some cases, these mafia members are even holding camps where the contractors, who wish to take part in the bid, are asked to seek 'blessings' from the criminals. "Unless such people are controlled, it will be difficult to prevent criminalisation of the tender process even if etenders are floated in Bhubaneswar," the Water Resources Secretary's letter stated. The last four e-tenders in Aul Division, Jena said, were apparently fixed since involvement of mafia was discernible as the prospective as well as participating bidders were threatened leaving the entire tender process completely compromised. The local division was advised to immediately cancel the tenders.
While the Department has cancelled the tenders and plans to go in for re-tendering, it has asked the Chief Engineer of Lower Mahanadi Basin to invite bids through e-tender at his level. As CCTV surveillance has been installed in the Chief Engineer's office, the criminal elements are unlikely to carry out any disturbance there. However, the tender mafia have been employing methods other than physical threats to extort money. Apart from terrorising through telephone calls, 'special messengers' are also been sent to issue warnings to bidders. Those who comply with the diktat of the tender mafia are encouraged to take part in the bidding while others stray away from the process. Jena's letter said the whole process has vitiated the tendering exercise in Kendrapara and the District Police has been requested to keep a watch on these anti-social elements who are using new methods to fix or compromise the tenders. A copy of the letter has also been marked to DGP KB Singh and ADG, Crime Branch BK Sharma. Sources said the Special Task Force operating under the Crime Branch is likely to take up the matter.