Textiles department awarding works to highest bidders
BY OUR STAFF REPORTER
GUWAHATI, March 14: Grandiose promises have long been a staple of Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi's budget announcements in the past 14 years. And these promises turning out to be mere eyewash has become part and parcel of Gogoi's functioning. It also reflects an utter lack of seriousness on the part of bureaucrats in implementing government schemes as well as the stifling extent of red-tape. Which is why most schemes announced by Chief Minister Gogoi remain on paper.
In his 2014–15 budget speech, Chief Minister Gogoi had announced a scheme for distribution of blankets and yarn among poor beneficiaries in each Assembly constituency of the State, and Rs 50 crore was earmarked for the same. But not a single beneficiary has received any blanket or yarn till date and the Handloom & Textiles department has not been able to utilize a single rupee of the earmarked Rs 50 crore for the purpose.
It seems the State government has no memory of announcements it had made earlier. In the 2015-16 budget, Gogoi again earmarked Rs 100 crore for blankets and yarn. Will the department concerned be able to spend Rs 100 crore when the earlier earmarked amount of Rs 50 crore remains unspent?
Only 15 days are left in the 2014-15 fincial year and the department concerned is yet to spend Rs 50 crore earmarked in the last budget for distributing blankets and yarns. Of the Rs 50 crore, Rs 25 crore was earmarked for distribution of blankets among poor beneficiaries.
Sources alleged that though tender and other necessary processes had been completed to find the suppliers for blanket distribution as per the 2014-15 budget announcement, 4-5 highest bidders were selected along with one or two lowest bidders by the Handloom & Textiles department for supplying these items. As per rules, only the lowest bidder should be selected by the department concerned in the tendering process. “But now a process is on to give work orders to the highest bidders instead of the lowest ones,” sources alleged.
Four to five highest bidders are likely to be given work orders of Rs 10 crore by the Handloom & Textiles department. Though the newly inducted minister Bismita Gogoi started out with some high-sounding announcements, things are now going on as before in the department. Huge commissions are being taken from the highest bidders for work orders, sources further alleged.
“If this is the state of affairs in the departments and this is the way how bureaucrats work, one can imagine how much control the Chief Minister has over the departments,” sources lamented.