STATES

Karnataka govt to scrutinise tenders, examine graft charges

By Express News Service

BENGALURU: The State Government will examine allegations of corruption in various departments after the Karnataka State Contractors’ Association wrote to the Prime Minister and committees headed by retired judges will also look into tender estimates and conditions.

“On July 6, 2021, the Contractors Association wrote to the PM. We don’t know why they wrote (to the PM). I have directed the Chief Secretary to get all issues raised by the contractors examined by heads of the concerned departments and take action if there are any irregularities,” Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai told reporters on Thursday.

The association, in its letter to the PM, had alleged that there were several irregularities in awarding contracts. The Opposition Congress had alleged that they had to pay 40% commission to get the works.
“If any tenders are finalised after my government came to power, I have directed the Chief Secretary to subject them to a special scrutiny. I have already written to the Chief Secretary,” he said. Bommai took over as the chief minister on July 28 two days after BS Yediyurappa resigned.

Emphasising that the State Government is committed to transparency in the administration, Bommai said as decided in the Cabinet recently, they will constitute two committees headed by retired judges to scrutinise tender estimates and tender conditions. Directives have been given to issue Government Orders to implement it immediately, he added.

Bommai said he has directed the officials to put in a place a system to automatically raise the bills electronically, based on seniority and the projects. Tenders have to be finalised as per the schedule decided without delay as any delay would give scope for suspicion, Bommai said.Responding to a question on allegations made against the elected representatives, including ministers and MLAs, Bommai said once the tenders are scrutinised, everything will come out and it will be known if there are any irregularities.

“They (the association) has not given any specific case or proof. They have written a general letter. Despite that I have ordered for an inquiry and directed to scrutinise all tenders by the department heads. What more transparency you expect?” Bommai said.

Karnataka State Contractors Association General Secretary GM Ravindra said they welcome the government’s decision to get the tenders scrutinised.  The government, especially the Public Works Department, is addressing the concerns and held several rounds of meetings to resolve the issues related to contractors, he added.

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