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MTDC denies awarding ‘renovation’ contract

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PINEWOOD HOTEL ROW

By Our Reporter

SHILLONG, June 12: The Meghalaya Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) on Thursday denied allotting the contract for renovating the interiors of Pinewood Hotel to Vikram Singhania.
Reacting to reports in The Shillong Times, the MTDC’s assistant engineer, B Lyngdoh said the corporation has only engaged labourers for dismantling the ceiling, wooden floor of the kitchen, and restaurant and banquet hall under the supervision of the design consultant.
He said a renovation project usually entails many unforeseen works.
“The work being undertaken is only to check the stability and condition of the existing wooden structure and determine the detailed scope of work for the finalisation of the DPR,” he said.
Lyngdoh said the components of the project include interior renovation of the banquet hall, kitchen, restaurant, restaurant extension, coffee shop, lobby, reception, and conference room including furniture, lighting and HVAC work.
He further said Rose Studio Private Limited, which designed the Meghalayan Age Store in New Delhi, has been engaged as the design consultant.
The MTDC assistant engineer said the corporation shall issue the tender once the DPR is finalised by the consultant and approved by the government. He added that tender shall be done in a transparent manner and all the local contractors can participate in the tender.
“Preference will be given to local contractors subject to the fulfilment of the criteria laid down by the engineering wing of the corporation,” he said.
Referring to a board member associated with the All Meghalaya Contractors and Suppliers’ Association (AMC&SA), he said no board member shall violate Sections 297 and 299 of the Companies Act by speaking against a unit of the corporation in public.
“Section 297 of the Companies Act of 1956 is based on the principle of trust, loyalty, and disclosure, and it precludes the directors from entering into any business dealing or arrangements on behalf of the company in which he has personal interest or conflict of interest. Board members also cannot participate in any tender issued by the department according to the Act,” Lyngdoh said.
Members of the AMC&SA on Tuesday met Tourism director, Cyril VD Diengdoh to demand for immediate termination of the contract allotted to Singhania.
The association’s chief advisor, Gilbert Laloo told reporters after the meeting that the government cannot allot the contract work to someone without inviting the expression of interest.
He said the decision to allot the contract to an unregistered non-tribal contractor without tender was illegal.
Laloo also slammed the NPP-led MDA government for doing things in a “very hush-hush manner” despite claiming to be transparent.
He recalled Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong justifying the delay in upgrading the Nongpoh-Umden-Sonapur Road by claiming that the government cannot just allot the work since it first needs to prepare the DPR and then call for the tender.
Congress wants Assembly PAC to intervene
The Opposition Congress has asked the Public Accounts Committee of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly to step in and address the controversy surrounding the renovation work of the iconic Pinewood Hotel amounting to crores of rupees
Opposition leader, Ronnie V Lyngdoh said the PAC should come into the picture immediately and summon all concerned and get to the bottom of the matter.
Lyngdoh said the PAC is mandated to ensure that public funds are used judiciously and with transparency and accountability for the purpose for which they are meant.
Asking the government to be transparent in whatever it does, Lyngdoh said if the work was actually allotted without any tender, it is a violation of the guidelines.
Asked if the contract should be scrapped, he said that if a contract has been signed, then both the parties are legally bound to execute the contract.

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