The much-awaited procurement scheme of 400 low-floor buses for Patna under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) is once again caught in the shackles of red tape.
Two companies — Ashok Leyland and Tata Motors — have submitted bids for supplying the buses under the state-funds mode. However, sources said the chief secretary, at the last minute, had asked the urban development department to start the process afresh to procure the buses in public-private partnership (PPP) mode.
“The financial bid to procure the buses was to be opened on January 22. We have received bids from Ashok Leyland and Tata Motors. However, the chief secretary, at a meeting with senior officers of the urban development department on January 21, asked them not to spend state funds for the purpose and rope in private firms to fund the project,” said a senior officer of the department.
Chief secretary Ashok Kumar Sinha was not available for comment. However, department secretary S. Siddharth said a decision regarding the procurement is awaited because the cabinet has not cleared the scheme yet. “The decision regarding the mode of procurement of these buses is not yet finalised. Depending upon the decision of the cabinet, it is expected to take another 15 days,” said Siddharth.
Earlier, the department tried to execute the scheme of procuring buses in PPP mode by inviting expression of interest from private operators in 2009-10.