Wednesday, April 26, 2006

BDA s e-payment initiative opposed

BDA s e-payment initiative opposed
Vijay Times

Agroup of contractors, who have been participating in various tender processes of the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA), have succeeded in getting a stay from the Karnataka High Court, restraining the BDA from going ahead with its move to promote electronic payments.


The BDA, which had invited a lump sum tender through its etendering system for maintaining various stretches of the Outer Ring Road on April 1, had mentioned that the form fee (document fee) and the EMD (Earnest Money Deposit) should be paid only through the e-payment gateway . The notification had also stated that other than payments made through e-payment, payments through any other mode like demand drafts (DD) would not be accepted.

The BDA had requested contractors to open an account with the HDFC or ICICI banks for making e-payments.


Not happy with the BDA’s move of accepting the form fee and EMD only through e-payment, 28 contractors filed a writ petition challenging the same in the High Court. The court has stayed the same on April 21.


V K Gopal, a senior contractor who has executed a number of BDA projects, told B BV VT T , "There is no point in asking us to make the payment electronically when many contractors are computer illiterates and are yet to get used to the e-tendering initiative even after one-and-a-half years. W e have been banking with nationalised banks for ages. How can the BDA insist that we open accounts in these two banks alone?" "Many contractors have stopped participating in the BDA tenders after the manual tendering process was replaced with the e-tendering process. The same is the case with the e-payment initiative," he said, and questioned, "What is the problem if we make payments through DDs."


Meanwhile, the BDA has moved the High Court to get the stay vacated and the same is likely to come up on Thursday .

However , the last date for submission of documents pertaining to the above tender process has been extended from April 26 to May 5.

T alking to BVT , BDA Commissioner M N Vidyashankar said that the e-payment mode would be the most ideal way for contractors to make payments.

"This mode ensures that a person par ticipating in the tender process does not get to know about the others. This initiative is only to the advantage of the contractors. BDA likes to maintain confidentiality in any tendering process," he said.

However , the commissioner informed that 47 contractors had already opened their accounts with the HDFC bank and 15 with the ICICI bank. "These are the only two banks in the country that have the online e-payment facility ," he said.

WHY NOT E PAY MENT ? When the contractors approached me against the e-payment initiative, I promised them that I would consider their request if they could come up with one good reason for not opting for the e-payment system. Not a single person could come up with a valid reason in this regard," he said.


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