Sunday, January 17, 2010

Meena steers clear of tender rush

Meena steers clear of tender rush
BBMP Chief Fails To Explain Officials’ Sudden And Unusual Zeal For Work
TIMES NEWS NETWORK

Bangalore: A day after controversy erupted over BBMP officials clandestinely burning the midnight oil, allegedly to clear project tenders worth Rs 3,248 crore to beat the election code of conduct which came into force on Friday, BBMP said tenders had not been awarded to anyone.
BBMP commissioner Bharat Lal Meena told reporters here on Friday that the BBMP had no powers to award any tenders above Rs 5 crore and there was no question of awarding tenders worth Rs 3,248 crore to anyone.
“The entire tender process is computerized and the process started in September 2009 after the government gave its clearance to BBMP’s blueprint for developmental projects worth over Rs 22,000 crore. The tenders were called in December 2009 and the last date to submit applications was extended till January 8, 2010. On January 12, 2010, the technical bids and financial bids were opened and total secrecy has been maintained on the tenders. So far, we have not awarded any contracts to anyone,’’ he said.
He pointed out that the tender process had to be sent to the government for approval and the works would be taken up only after the government awarded the tenders to contractors. “We have all the bid details with us and we cannot do anything with that,’’ he said.
Tender controversy
The tender process of Rs 3,248 crore is mired in controversy since January 12, 2010 after the media and opposition parties in the assembly noticed BBMP officials clearing files late at night. However, BBMP officials said they had to open the financial bids in the e-procurement office, as they couldn’t open them at BBMP office due to a technical snag.
On Sankranti eve January 14, BBMP officials were working in their offices after 9.30 pm, which is rather unusual to say the least. The doors were locked on the outside and switched off the lights when they noticed they had been noticed. This gave rise to questions as to why the officials were working overtime on a festival day and why jumped out of the window and escaped on seeing mediapersons. COMMISSIONER DUCKS
Bharat Lal Meena had to duck a volley of questions from mediapersons on Friday.
The financial bids for the tenders was scheduled to be opened on January 16. Once the Election Commission announced the calender of events for the BBMP elections and it was clear the code of conduct would come into effect from January 15, why was the date for opening financial bids advanced to January 12? There was no specific reason for advancing the dates. My understanding of the code of conduct is that only new schemes cannot be announced and works which would influence the voters cannot be taken up. Existing works can be carried out.
Since the tenders are opened now, if the state government awards tenders based on your recommendation, can the works be taken before the election process is completed? My understanding is that the ongoing schemes can continue.
What was so urgent about the work that officers had to work late at night on a public holiday? Had they brought it to your notice? Well, we work 24 hours a day and this may be related to budget preparation or anything pertaining to their work. It was not brought to my notice.
If they were doing official work, why did they switch off the lights of the entire building, jumped through the window and escaped? Have you asked them about it? It is wrong to lock themselves from the outside; they could have been transparent. We don’t approve of this behaviour. I’ll seek an explanation in this matter.

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