Cong demands work order cancellation, walks out

Cong demands work order cancellation, walks out

IMPHAL, Feb 8: Contending that the issuance of work order to M/S SN Pavei which had been blacklisted by NHIDCL for a road project funded by MoRTH flouted tender rules, Opposition Congress MLAs today demanded cancellation of the same work order.
However, the ruling bench maintained that the work order was issued to M/S SN Pavei after ascertaining that there was no harm.
On hearing the Government’s reply, all the Opposition Members including ex-Chief Minister O Ibobi walked out of the House.
While discussing the demands tabled at the State Assembly, Congress MLA Kh Joykisan pointed out that NHIDCL is an implementing agency of MoRTH.
As such issuance of work order to M/S SN Pavei already blacklisted by NHIDCL for a road project funded by MoRTH flouted tender rules and the same tender process should be held again, Joykisan demanded.
According to Clause 4.85 of the tender rules framed by PWD, any contractor who have litigation history should submit relevant documents at the time of submitting tender bids. But M/S SN Pavei did not submit any documents and concealed the fact that it has litigation history thereby violating the tender rule. Hence the work order allotted to the particular contractor should be cancelled.
A written intimation furnished by the Finance Department to the State Assembly’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) said that M/S SN Pavei had been blacklisted.
Maintaining that the issuance of work order to the blacklisted contractor would serve as an ugly precedent, the Congress MLA demanded that a fresh tender should be held for the particular work.
Replying to the Congress MLA, Works Minister Th Biswajit stated that the department did not know that M/S SN Pavei had been blacklisted earlier.
The department came to know about it only after an RTI application was filed when the tender process had reached the tender high committee.
Asking how could the work order be cancelled based on information not available with the Government, Biswajit stated that there was no instruction from the Ministry too.
Moreover, the State PWD does not function under NHIDCL. As such, the work order was allotted to M/S Pavei with due permission of the Finance Department and after seeking legal advice, Biswajit said.
Joykisan further pointed that Indian Penal Code (IPC) was invoked and FIR was lodged when M/S SN Pavei was blacklisted.
Asserting that registration of FIR implied that litigation process had started, Joykisan asked the Works Minister from whom he sought legal advice.
Nonetheless, Biswajit maintained that M/S SN Pavei had been working for many years and there was no black mark.
As such, cancellation of the work order is likely to complicate the matter.
NHIDCL is an implementing agency of MoRTH and copies of documents related to blacklisting contractors are given to all States.
Information about blacklisting are available on the website and it is in public domain, Joykisan argued.
He went on to assert that the State Government cannot claim it did not have information.
Joining the argument, Chief Minister N Biren stated that NHIDCL is not related with the State Government in any manner.
He said that the NHIDCL is one agency of the Central Government and it has no right to impose anything upon the State Government.
NHIDCL has no right to tell PWD not to release funds to a particular contractor just because it had blacklisted the contractor.
It is another matter if the contractor is blacklisted by PWD.
The Government arrived at the decision to allot the work order to M/S SN Pavei after considering all aspects and the Government would stand by its decision.
If any Member is not happy with the Government’s decision, he/she may go to another forum, Biren asserted.
After hearing the Chief Minister’s argument, ex-Chief Minister O Ibobi pointed out that the particular road project is funded with CRF and it was sanctioned by MoRTH.
Even as O Ibobi suggested rectification of the lapses which took place during the tender process and hold a fresh tender, the Government refused to budge from its stand.
Subsequently, the Speaker proceeded with the next agenda.
The next moment, Joykisan stood up and walked out saying that he would rather walk out from the House if the Government persists with its wrongdoings even after knowing that it had committed wrongs.
Joykisan was followed by all other Opposition Members including their leader.

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