GUWAHATI: The enormity of the nexus between a section of officials and contractors during the Congress regime in the State can be gauzed well from the fact that work with an estimated cost of Rs 71 crore had been allotted to as many as 1,761 contractors. The direct fallout of such an act is that the work could not be done at many places as many of the contractors could not be traced.
This was revealed on the floor of the State Assembly on Wednesday when Water Resources Minister Keshab Mahanta was replying to a question from Morigaon MLA Ramakanta Deori.
Spelling out the nature of the nexus between a section of officials and contractors during the previous regime, Mahanta cited an example in his department, and said, “A work worth Rs 71 crore was allotted to as many as 1,761 contractors, and most of the contractors had no existence. The result of such an act by the previous regime is that the work couldn’t be done in many places. However, there has been a paradigm shift in the allotment of departmental works now. We’ve made works need-based, not contractor-based as was the case earlier.”
The House also had a discussion on the issue of a section of contractors bidding rates much below the estimated cost and getting works allotted, but leaving them undone. A section of MLAs said, “There are contractors who show rates much below the estimated rate and get contracts allotted to them. They, however, fail to do the works later. The government should device a mechanism to prevent such practices from happening so as to ensure the smooth progress of works.”
The gravity of the issue made the Speaker intervene, and said, “This issue needs to be taken up seriously. When technical people prepare the DPR (Detailed Project Report) of a project, they put the estimated cost taking all aspects into consideration. There may be a little difference in the cost. How come to some contractors put the rate around 20 percent less than the estimated cost and get the contracts only to leave them undone? This is a crucial issue as the door of the Court is always open for the lowest bidder in the event not getting the contract. The government should device its remedy.”