A non-governmental organisation (NGO), Arappor Iyakkam, on Monday urged Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K.Stalin to go for e-tender for procurement of 2.11 crore corona relief grocery kits to save hundreds of crore and also enable more bidders to participate.
In a letter to Stalin, Arappor Iyakkam’s Convenor Jayaram Venkatesan said this short tender is worth close to Rs. 837 crores as per Ration Department’s estimate based on retail price of Amutham Departmental Stores belonging to Tamil Nadu Civil Supplies Corporation.
Venkatesan said since it is being procured at wholesale, the procurement needs to happen at 10 to 20 per cent less than the retail rate which is the wholesale rate. This would come to around Rs. 670 crore to Rs. 753 crore for 2.11 crore kits.
The DMK government headed by Stalin had announced supply of corona relief grocery kit containing 13 grocery items including wheat, salt, rava, sugar, urud dal, Tamarind, Bengal gram dal, mustard, cumin, turmeric powder, chilli powder, bathing soap and washing soap.
According to Venkatesan, the short tender has not been announced as a e-tender and instead as a manual tender paving way for restricting competition and paving way for fixing the tender in favour of one supplier.
“The tender mentions that the person participating in the tender shall at least provide 30 per cent of the quantity. This means there are at the maximum going to be 3 big firms that are going to be supplying this huge order,” Vekatesan said.
Requesting Stalin to cancel the corona relief kit tender Venkatesan said the same should be refloated district wise for all 38 districts through e-tender process immediately.
The Arappor Iyakkam has also suggested changing the minimum offered quantity to 20 per cent instead of 30 per cent so that there will be more competition, say about 190 small and medium traders and manufacturers.
“Secondly, we request that the clause of experience in supplying to Government/Quasi Government be changed to Government/Quasi Government/ Private as well,” Venkatesan told Stalin.
According to Venkatesan, between 2007 to 2014, the tender conditions facilitated participation of even new/small-scale bidders.
Bidders who did not meet the prior experience and turnover requirements can participate/qualify by paying an additional security deposit of five per cent of the total value of the ordered quantity.
However, such conditions were removed to favour one supplier, Venkatesan alleged.