Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (Tpcc) president N. Uttam Kumar Reddy has accused TRS Government of engineering over Rs. 1 Lakh Crore scam in the irrigation department.
Addressing a press conference at Gandhi Bhavan on Wednesday, Uttam Kumar Reddy said that the TRS Government has modified rules to sabotage a fair tender process in the Palamuru Ranga Reddy Lift Irrigation Scheme. He said that the entire tender process was twisted to favour a few select companies in bagging works worth Rs. 29,200 crore in 18 packages. "Instead of inviting leading global and national companies to execute the works, the Irrigation Department has twisted the bidding rules in such a way that only a few selected companies would be eligible to bag the contract," he said.
Citing instances, Uttam Kumar Reddy said that the qualification criteria asked was not the execution of similar nature of works. But it was, "Execution of not more than two projects within the present bid period with the combined executed value of such projects in any one financial years being 10% ECV of present bid." Further, very peculiarly capacity of reservoirs along with height and width of earthen bund is asked in order to qualify for similar works category.
"Generally for all tenders we have observed that only Earth Work Embankment quantity is asked. But in these tenders the dimensions and quantities are strangely specified. It will not allow many eligible contractors to participate in the bidding thus creating a Monopolistic environment. In Telangana Water Grid Tenders, one work of similar nature was asked. Whereas, in these Irrigation tenders you had specially asked for two works. What is the reason?" asked Uttam Kumar Reddy.
The Tpcc chief said that many small workers were combined into gigantic packages with exorbitantly high contract value only to keep many eligible contractors away from participating in bidding process. Further, having registration with the Government of Telangana/erstwhile Andhra Pradesh is one of the conditions to participate in bidding process. "This would not allow national/international bidding which is very essential for big projects to attract serious competitive bids. Such biased clauses incorporated in these tenders are giving rise to suspicion that these tenders are customised to favour "few favourte companies."
He informed that he has already written a letter to Irrigation Department Principal Secretary questioning the tender process of Palamuru Ranga Reddy Lift Irrigation Scheme.
Similarly, the cost of several packages in Dr. B. R. Ambedkar Pranahita Chevella Sujala Sravanthi were enhanced by over Rs. 12,000 crore. Citing an instance, he said that the State Government issued a GO. RT. No. 129, Dated 11-02-2016 increasing the cost of Pakcage -14 from Rs. 659.265 Crore in 2008-09 to Rs. 3007.08 Crore. He said that the package cost was increased by almost five times without calling for fresh tenders and the works were allocated to the same contractor. He said that the cost should have come down in view of decrease in prices of diesel, cement and steel compared to 2008-09.
Uttam Kumar Reddy said that the TRS Government has shutdown the website on GOs only to restrain common people from learning about these irregularities. He said that the projects were being redesigned in violation of the recommendations of the expert committee constituted on "Barrages on Godavari & Pranahita Rivers".
The Tpcc chief said that the TRS Government was not functioning in a transparent manner. He said that the irregularities were being conducted at a large scale and rules were being modified to cover up the scams.
Accusing the TRS Government of swindling public money, he said that the Congress party would expose and fight against these corrupt practices in both Assembly and outside. He demanded that the State Government call for fresh tenders in a transparent manner while inviting bids from all global and national companies. Further, he said that the website on GOs should be restored so as to keep the people informed about government's decisions.
Tpcc Chief Spokesperson K. Shravan Kumar was also present in the press conference.