Northeast

Anganwadi Rice Transport Scandal: Social Welfare director refutes allegations of malpractices in tender process

The social welfare director said legal and necessary action will be taken against the firm if they had committed forged and fake document.

ByIFP Bureau

Updated 16 Oct 2022, 1:17 pm

(Representational Image: Pixabay)
(Representational Image: Pixabay)

Social Welfare director Ngangom Uttam on Friday clarified that the tender inviting transporters for transporting of rice and micronutrients for Anganwadi centres is yet to be completed.

Speaking to media at the office of the social welfare director, Uttam stated that the social welfare directorate has already asked the transport directorate to verify the ownership of vehicles submitted by certain firms in the tender process.

He further pointed out that a total of 16 firms/contractors applied for the tender for transportation of rice and micronutrients following the notice inviting tender (NIT) by the social welfare department.

However, only seven were approved by the tender committee in the first phase, he said.

Notably one of the firms was disqualified on the charges of submitting forged and fake documents. As such, after a fresh proceeding of the tender committee, only six of the firms were approved for price bids.

Related Story: Anganwadi rice transport scandal in Manipur Social Welfare department

He further said that the "tender process is an ongoing one just like an exam, those without valid documents will be automatically rejected".

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The social welfare director said legal and necessary action will be taken against the firm if they had committed forged and fake document.

In this regard, Uttam stated that the social welfare department on October 10 had already asked the transport directorate to verify documents pertaining to the registration certificate for the vehicles.

The tender committee, in its proceedings on October 7 at the office of the Social Welfare Director, had approved seven firms, including Zenith Enterprises which had submitted the ‘Swift Dzire’ car.

It was only after a firm made a written complaint to the Minister of Social Welfare on October 8, 2022 that the said firm ‘Zenith Enterprises’ was cancelled in the tender committee meeting held on October 10, 2022.

Further, the registration and make of every vehicle is available in VAHAN App of Ministry of Road Transport & Highways and it remains a mystery as to how the officials of Social Welfare had missed the deception in the first place.

There are questions on how the remaining six firms which were approved on October 7 and 10 despite violation of at least one of the eligibility criteria for bidders/tenderers like having a minimum experience of two years in transportation, possessing a minimum fleet of five trucks owned in the name of the bidder firm or having a minimum annual turnover of not less that Rs 2 crores during the last two financial years.  

As regards the director’s claim that he has been writing to the government for issuing a fresh NIT since he took over in 2019, the observation of the Supreme Court on November 12, 2021 is worth a mention.

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The apex court said, “Everybody is happy, namely, the officers of the state government, more particularly the officers of the social welfare department and the contractors and it appears that the state is not interested in issuing fresh NIT.”

It is also on record that the NIT issued on September 2, 2022 by the department was amended several times and even the account number given as that of the director Social Welfare for submission of demand drafts turned out to be of Women and Child Development Unit and later a corrigendum was issued.

The price bids of the six firms approved after the technical bid was opened on October 10, 2022 and still the director is saying that further verification will go on.

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Tags:

NITNgangom Uttamanganwaditransport tender processsocial welfare director

IFP Bureau

IFP Bureau

IMPHAL, Manipur

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