Friday, July 19, 2024

Controversy over work sans tender


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SHILLONG, June 11: The NPP-led MDA Government has landed in a soup once again after questions were raised over the manner in which the contract for renovation of the iconic Pinewood Hotel amounting to crores of rupees was awarded to one Vikram Singhania without inviting tender. The questionable manner in which the renovation work was awarded to Singhania points to a scam in the making on several counts.
Sources told The Shillong Times on Tuesday that the state government is releasing the funds for the renovation through the Meghalaya Age Limited and not the Tourism Department or the Meghalaya Tourism Development Corporation which manages the hotel.
According to sources, the state government has engaged a consultant from France to design a new look for the Pinewood Hotel.
Sources revealed that Singhania, who was awarded the renovation project, is not a registered contractor.
The All Meghalaya Contractors’ and Suppliers’ Association met Tourism Director, Cyril VD Diengdoh on Tuesday to raise the demand for immediate termination of the contract allotted to Singhania.
Talking to reporters after the meeting, the association’s chief advisor, Gilbert Laloo questioned how the government can allot the contract work to someone without inviting the expression of interest.
According to Laloo, the decision of the government to allot the contract without tender is illegal since that the contract was allotted to a non-tribal who is not even a registered contractor.
Laloo also slammed the government for doing things in a very hush-hush manner despite tall claims of transparency by the NPP-led MDA Government.
He recalled that recently, Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong had justified the delay in the upgrade of the Nongpoh-Umden-Sonapur Road by claiming that the government cannot just allot the work since they will need to first prepare the DPR and then call for the tender.
Laloo said apart from the Pinewood Hotel renovation work, there are several more projects which the government has allotted through “closed tenders”.
He also mentioned that the government has begun resorting to a new policy of merging several small projects into one big package and awarding them to bidders from outside the state which is against the interests of the local contractors.
“Due to this policy, none of the local contractors have the requisite capital to bid for big projects,” he claimed.


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