Thursday, January 14, 2010

BBMP projects trigger a storm

BBMP projects trigger a storm
Bangalore: DHNS

With barely two days to go before the model code of conduct comes into effect for the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) elections, the overnight opening of bids for more than 18 works raised a storm in the political circles on Wednesday.


Although BBMP commissioner Bharatlal Meena clarified that no contracts were awarded, the Opposition alleged that tender applications for projects worth Rs 3,400 crore had been cleared.

But the Palike maintained this was not true. “More than a month ago, the government had sanctioned Rs 3,400 crore worth of projects and its closing date of the tenders was January 8,” said Meena. “So the tenders were to be opened the next day but because January 9-10 were public holidays, we could not open bids on those days. After reconciling the bids on Monday, we were opening them from Tuesday morning till late evening,” he said.

HC intervention
The Congress on Wednesday sought the High Court intervention to cancel the entire tendering process ahead of the polls. They also lodged a complaint with the State Election Commission seeking to put on hold the tendering. The JD(S) too filed a complaint with the Karnataka Lokayukta.

Documents in possession of Deccan Herald show that the first order for the bids was issued on January 4, 2010, according to which the bids were to be opened through e-procurement portal on January 12 and the financial bids on January 16. As the code of conduct was to be effective from January 15, the officials advanced the entire process to January 12.

The Congress, the JD(S) and the Civic Front comprising the CPI, CPM, DSS and AIADMK, on Wednesday marched towards the BBMP office holding placards and raising slogans against the government and the Mahanagara Palike.
But minister in charge of Bangalore R Ashok said that the Congress and the JD(S) were scared of an election rout if developmental works of such a large scale were initiated.
Ashok said advertisements for tender applications were published 21 days ago in leading newspapers and no one objected to the date. He said the government would continue to issue tenders till the code of conduct came into effect.

The BBMP commissioner maintained that the applications came through e-tendering so there was no room for tampering with facts.
“We did not upload any manual tendering in the system. The system itself tells us the technical evaluation of all the bids and based on the merits, contracts will be awarded,” said Meena.

He said the contracts worth Rs 3,400 crore were part of the BBMP’s plan for the Rs 22,000 crore expenditure on 18 packaged tenders for developing roads, including seven out of the 12 signal-free corridors.

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