No tender for Mayor's emergency funds

Mayor Nataraj had urged the State government to allow the use of funds by granting exemption under Section 4(g) of the Karnataka Transparency in Public Procurement Act, 1999. The permission, granted earlier this month, allows the mayor and deputy mayor to use the funds for projects which are of ‘extreme urgency’ and taken up without floating tenders.

“With most projects taken up as piece works, we decided to invoke emergency quota clause to ensure that works are allotted at scheduled rates (SR). There are possibilities of quotations shooting over and above the SR in case tenders are called,” Nataraj told Deccan Herald.

The Karnataka Rural Infrastructure Development Limited (KRIDL) will execute the projects taken up under the discretionary funds.

The Palike Council had last year blacklisted KRIDL (earlier known as Karnataka Land Army Corporation), being unhappy over its pace and quality of work.

However, in a span of one year, the Palike found KRIDL fit for executing “emergency projects.” The firm can in turn entrust projects to contractors enlisted with it.

Transparency

The scope for award of projects without calling tenders has led to questions on transparency and accountability. “In the absence of tenders, there are chances of contractors inflating the project costs, thus making profits which could run into lakhs of rupees,” a Palike officer said.

While e-tendering has been made mandatory for projects above Rs five lakh, the exemption under the Transparency Act may encourage contractors make a killing at the expense of taxpayers’ money.

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