SHILLONG, Sept 3 - The Congress today accused the NPP-led Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA) Government of “looting” the public exchequer by manipulating the tender process in the Power Department.
Leader of the Opposition Mukul Sangma alleged that “officials, together with their political bosses”, have manipulated the tender process to favour particular contractors in implementing the Saubhagya scheme.
“The circumstantial evidence is that the award of contract is more than 50 per cent of the schedule of rates of the total projected estimated cost which was based on the DPR preparation by the MeECL,” Sangma said.
Meghalaya has lagged behind in rural electrification. It faces the challenging task of providing rural electricity to 1,400 villages under the Saubhagya scheme.
The State, under the scheme, has been divided into two packages – A and B. The former is for the Khasi-Jaintia Hills and the latter for the Garo Hills. The State has been sanctioned Rs 657 crore for this ambitious project of the NDA Government.
“There is deep-rooted corruption in the Power Department,” Sangma alleged. He claimed that the scam runs deep and involves officials and their political masters.
Sangma said due to the manipulation, several contractors could not qualify for the bidding process and others failed to get the contract. “All the terms and conditions in the bidding process were manipulated to favour pre-identified bidders,” Sangma alleged.
He stated that one of the aggrieved contractors approached the High Court against the Government, but withdrew the case under mysterious circumstances.
Sangma said if there was an out-of-court settlement, it would have been a different matter, but nobody except the Government knows why the contractor withdrew the case after complaining against manipulation in the tender process.