IRREGULARITIES IN SUPPLY OF LED LIGHTS
By Our Staff Reporter
Guwahati, Feb 12: The Guwahati Municipal Corporation had called for bids for supply of LED lights in view of the South Asian Games, but the haste in which in the exercise was carried out and the conditions laid down in the tender document have come in for scrutiny.
In fact, while the GMC's rush led to an apparent loss of revenue for the government, it appeared that the tendering process was tailor-made to accommodate one particular party.
The advertisement calling for bids was published on January 1. Just seven days' time was given to the firms to submit their bids, even though as per Central Vigilance Commission guidelines, a normal period of 30 days should be given for submission of bids.
A restriction was also imposed on the type of LED brands. According to the tender document, the LED brands should be in the Assam Public Works department's approved list. This is despite that fact that there are reputed LED manufacturers who are approved by the Union Power Ministry but may not necessarily be in the approved list of the State PWD. Clearly, the guideline restricted the number of bidders, excluding bigger firms who could have provided the lights at a much cheaper price.
The two aberrations in the tender document have raised eye-brows, with doubts being raised if they were laid down to facilitate a particular party.
The GMC had come up with a rather lame explation.
"A proposal (for the project) of Rs 16 crore was submitted to the State government long back. The government, however, sanctioned it in December-end and that too only Rs 4 crore was approved. We had very little time as the Games were knocking at the door. As per CVC guidelines, in such emergencies, the time period given can be restricted to seven days or even less," said a GMC official.
Now, an obvious question arises as to why the GMC was sitting on the project even though the venue of the Games was announced in May-June last year. Perhaps the GMC won't have any explation to this.