Updated: July 21, 2021 11:36:09 am
Delhi Lt Governor Anil Baijal’s secretariat has forwarded files related to the annual maintenance contract (AMC) of 1,000 low-floor DTC buses, including the report of a three-member committee, to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs, according to sources.
Two sources in the government confirmed that the file concerned has been sent to the MHA. However, the L-G House refused to comment on the matter.
The committee was formed by the L-G on June 16 and its members were principal secretary (transport) Ashish Kundra, principal secretary (vigilance) K R Meena, and former IAS O P Agarwal. It had the mandate to examine whether alleged irregularities vitiated the tendering process related to the AMC and purchase of buses.
The panel, in its report, said the tendering process of purchase of buses “warrants no interference and suffers from no major infirmity, and that it “focused its attention only on the procurement process of AMC of the buses”.
On the AMC, the committee found that the tender for it was “flawed” as it allowed the participation of only two players that won the contract to supply the buses as well. In its 11-page report, the committee said the AMC encourages “cartelisation” and “monopoly pricing”.
While acknowledging that floating separate tenders cannot automatically be faulted, it pointed out that the eligibility criteria “defeated the purpose of splitting the bids”. It also questioned the absence of a price reasonableness test against a well-defined benchmark and dismissed the DTC’s contention that it could not do so due to lack of expertise.
A source told The Indian Express: “The file related to AMC of the buses, including the panel report, has been sent. The next course of action will be decided by the MHA, which is the L-G’s reporting authority. To be sure, merely sending the file does not mean any action is in the offing. The MHA may have sought details from the L-G office since some details of the report made it to the press.”
The committee had also suggested that after cancelling the AMC contract, the DTC explore inviting fresh bids to “ensure wider participation”. “A fresh bid be floated for a turnkey operation and maintenance contract (O&M) for these buses as against a simple AMC contract,” the committee said.
A turnkey contract, in the case of DTC, would mean that private players should be roped in to provide bus drivers, run the buses, and take care of day to day maintenance and repair.
However, the AMC has not been scrapped so far. In the tendering process, JBM Auto had bagged the AMC contract, emerging as the L1 bidder.
While the purchase contract was for Rs 850 crore, the 12-year AMC was for Rs 3,412 crore.
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