Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) has cancelled all tenders it recently floated for managing parking zones after the civic body discovered that the process had violated a state government order.
The tenders to manage parking zones along roads were floated for the first time in nine years in January. Multiple tenders were floated, each for a set of roads.
The value of each tender was more than Rs 1 lakh.
The state government’s rules say the process of floating tenders with a value of Rs 1 lakh or more and submission of bids must be done electronically. But the KMC opted for the manual mode.
“The tenders were cancelled because there is a government order that any tender with a value of Rs 1 lakh or more should be done electronically. We followed a physical process and it was an error,” said Debasish Kumar, mayoral council member in charge of the KMC’s car parking department. “We will have to take the e-tender route.”
The KMC’s tenders for managing parking lots are always mired in controversies. On one occasion, boxes where bids were submitted were broken.
Managing parking along roads is a lucrative business and the competition to bag the rights has always been cut-throat. Complaints of manipulation are not uncommon.
“E-tender is more transparent. In the physical mode, one can threaten a rival to not submit a bid. Such tactics will not work if bids are submitted electronically,” said Kumar.
Tenders for distributing civic parking lots in Kolkata were last floated in 2013-14. Successful bidders were assigned parking lots for two years, but the tenure was extended every subsequent year.
Mayor Firhad Hakim told The Telegraph on Friday that tender has to be floated in a manner that is “open to all”.
“You cannot create a coterie and try to circulate the benefits to them only. The tender process has to be more transparent,” he said.
Questions, however, remain about what took the KMC so long to realise that the tender process it had followed was in violation of the state government’s rules and transparency norms.
“The bids were opened from March 23. The bids for the majority of tendershave been opened and the highest bidders announced. We only came to know on March 27 that the process stood cancelled,” said one of the bidders.