Following complaints over alleged irregularities in the procedure to invite bids for the paperless mandis project or ‘Emandi’ in the state, the Kamal Nath-led government has decided to annul a tender issued during the previous BJP regime.
On Monday, state Agriculture Minister Sachin Yadav told The Indian Express that he has issued the order to cancel the tender “because there was a cloud of suspicion over it”. “We will soon issue a fresh tender to allow more and renowned companies to participate in it…,” he said.
The multi-crore project was to begin on a pilot basis in 10 mandis in the state. Depending on the outcome of the pilot run, the mandi board was to replicate it in all 257 mandis in the state. Three companies had got the contract for the project, while bigger companies did not.
Ahead of the Assembly elections, there was correspondence between the agriculture department and the mandi board, following which the former sought clarifications in the wake of allegations that tender conditions had been “changed” to keep major companies away.
The agriculture department had asked the board to make the tender process more transparent. A mandi board official, however, claimed that the allegations were uncalled for because at least two of the three top companies were not ready to do the project. He alleged that there were demands to open the tender portal after the deadline was over.