Dimapur Dec 6,2017: A citizen has accused the Department of Social Welfare, Government of Nagaland, of floating an “illegal tender” in a manner as to discourage sufficient parties to participate in the bid in fair competition. The tender also contained contradictory conditions, the citizen alleged.
According to a representation addressed to the Chief Secretary, Commissioner & Secretary and Director, Social Welfare by a concerned citizen, Lukiqhe Assumi, the Notice Inviting Tender (NIT) issued vide REF:SW/SNP-14/e/2017-18/, dated November 28, 2017 was not only illegal, but appeared to have been done in “collusion” with an interested private party.
A copy of the representation available pointed out that the Tender Documents should be manually submitted but that the tender has been floated online.
Further, the NIT should be published widely in the newspapers but was not uploaded even on the Social Welfare site, instead uploaded on Tiger.com. As against the normal NIT granting minimum of 21 days, the tender provided only 7 days, it added. Apart from “discouraging fair competition,” the citizen alleged that “The hide and seek hushed up manner tactic is a revelation in itself that there is prima facie ulterior motive to favour certain party.”
Further, the citizen stated that the participation in NIT was open for manufacturer or manufacturer authorized distributor/manufacturing units in the local area, Self Help Groups, Manufacturing Units, Mahilla Mandal, NGO or Village Community.
It also stated that a 5-year experience of supplying in the North East was one of the criteria. “This is with a clear intent of securing kickbacks….The condition reveals intent to avoid competition. Once the tender is open for competition outside Nagaland, the same cannot be confined to North East Region in a pick and choose manner to favour some party,” the citizen stated.
He also cited Government of India direction on Micro and Small Enterprises registered under National Small Industries Corporation Ltd. to get tender set free of cost and exemption from payment of Earnest Money. However, the bidding documents have been priced at Rs.10,000 and the EMD fixed at Rs.30,00,000 for companies and for the Self Help Group, Manufacturing Units, Mahilla Mandal, NGO or Village Community fixed at Rs.3,00,000. He stated such condition was against the Central Government directive and cannot be condoned by law.
He pointed out that the condition in the NIT showing a minimum annual turnover for the last 3 years to be not less than Rs. 6 crore and fixing Rs. 60 lakh for SHGs, Mahila Mandals etc was with the “intent to discourage and discriminate small units.” He cited directions of Centre Courts that the turnover was immaterial and putting eligibility condition of minimum turnover with a threshold of crores of rupees in the tenders discriminated against Small Scale Industries.
The citizen continued to point out flawed conditions in the NIT which stated that the bidder would have to produce all original documents uploaded on the web. However, another condition stated that the bidder had to submit the documents manually.
“This contradiction is mechanical in nature. It proves to show that in a bid to favour certain interested party, the error has occurred. It is the rule of law that there can be no contradictory conditions in the same document,” the citizen added.
Terming the condition that a manufacturer should have Rs 6 crores in Cash Credit as “ridiculous,” the citizen stated that the financing method of business cannot be the concern of the Department. He said if such condition was necessary, the same could be in the form of bank guarantee and not otherwise.
Thus, according to the citizen, the ‘illegal’ NIT cannot be allowed to proceed without following the due process of law where the ultimate concern was the quality and price of the product.
“Should the Department fail to entertain or ignore this representation, the same shall be litigated before the appropriate forum in the interest of the public of Nagaland,” the citizen cautioned.
Source: Morung Express