‘PWD giving work order to contractors blacklisted by NHIDCL’

Opposition MLA Kh Joykisan informed the House that the Public Work Department (PWD) has been giving work orders for projects funded by Ministry of Road Transport and Highway to contractors who have been blacklisted by the National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation (NHIDCL). NHIDCL is a company functioning under the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.

The MLA raised the issue during the question hour of the 4th Session of 11th Manipur Legislative Assembly on Tuesday.

Wondering how one special contractor named SN Pavei who had been blacklisted by NHIDCL, was given work order by the PWD, Joykisan also questioned the logic of the state government in hiring a blacklisted contractor in a project funded by the ministry.

He also queried if any documents related to blacklisting of the said contractor were submitted along with other documents required for tender bidding. As per the rules of any tender, any bidders found withholding information regarding litigation history must be disqualified. Since SN Pavei has litigation history, the MLA said, that he (Pavei) must be disqualified and the tender annulled.

Responding to the issue, Works Minister Th Biswajit said that although SN Pavei had been blacklisted by NHIDCL, he was given work order as the state government had not blacklisted him. The work order was given to the contractor only after the state government delinked him, followed by intimation to the Deputy Secretary (Works) and PWD chief engineer.

Biswajit further informed that the government came to know that the contractor was blacklisted only after an RTI was filed after the tender was initiated. NHIDCL may be a company of the Ministry but it is more or less an implementing agency at best.

Furthermore, the Ministry has not forwarded any instruction stating that the work order cannot be given. If the Ministry sends a formal letter to the state government then the government would take up steps to dismiss the work order, he added.
Replying to opposition MLA Dr Chaltonlein Amo's question about district fund allocation for Pherzawl district and budgetary provision, Finance Minister & Deputy CM Y Joykumar said that the total fund allotted is Rs 271.33 lakh, of which Rs 202.63 lakh is salary component.

On top of this, Rs 103.03 lakh has been sanctioned to purchase 7 government vehicles for the newly formed 7 districts, including Pherzawl district. For 2017-18, the budgetary provision for the administration of Pherzawl district is Rs 271.33 lakh, he added.

On the issue raised by MLA Dr Chaltonlien for construction of a district hospital in Pherzawl, Health and Family Welfare Minister L Jayantakuamr replied that currently there are no proposals to build a district hospital in Pherzawl. Earlier, as per the government's order issued on Nov 23, 2017, Parbung CHC was shifted to Tharonfollowing a cabinet decision to upgrade Parbung CHC to a district hospital, he conveyed.

Nonetheless, the cabinet decision is not permanent and therefore, the cabinet needs to review its decision if a district hospital is to be placed in Pherzawl. For this, justification is needed for the matter and after needed deliberation, the CM will be briefed on the issue, the minister assured.

Responding to the question on implementation of 7th central pay revision raised by opposition MLA Okram Henry, Deputy Chief Minister Y Joykumar Singh, who is also in-charge of Finance, said that the state government is currently in the process of working out the feasibility and financial implication on the implementation of the 7th Central Pay Commission in the State.

The time for implementation of 7th Central Pay Commission recommendation in the State cannot be ascertained at this juncture, as it will depend on both the technical findings of the Fitment Committee and the resource position of the State, he added.

MLA Abdul Nasir also questioned the Deputy CM if it was compulsory to obtain the calendar and diaries of DIPR as the MLAs were called up by a staff of DIPR for the same.

In reply, IPR Minister Th Biswajit said that Rs 20 lakh was allotted for producing the 2017-18 calendar and diary of the Department. The 2018 Diary and calendar were given as complimentary copies to VVIPs and government functionaries while the remaining was put up for sale to the public to garner revenue, he added.

He further informed that that it is not compulsory for the MLAs to obtain these diaries as reports have already been submitted that the diaries and calendars have been given through the House. Stating that it must be an error made by a staff, he said that an inquiry is being conducted on the matter.

Regarding a question raised by MLA Surjakumar Okram on the Memorandum of Understandings (MoU) signed between the State Government and Private Firms/Companies etc. and the volume of investments and profit sharing, Commerce and Industries Minister Thongam Biswajit Singh said that during the North East Development Summit (NEDS) held on November 21-22, 2017, altogether 39 MOUs were signed.

On the subject of details on the volume of investment and profit sharing, the Minister said that the volume of investments indicated in the MoU(s) are only indicative and initial projections are subject to variations as the investments details, activities, action plans etc. are yet to be finalized and the profit sharing can be estimated only after the quantum of investments, including the details of the investments, activities, action plans, etc. are finalised.

Opposition MLA Fajur Rahim questioned about the work orders for repairing of flood affected areas. Responding to the query, Water Resources Minister Letpao Haokip said that tender process is underway to allot work orders for repairing the damages that were caused by the recent floods in the state. For this, Rs 7.50 crore is available.

Furthermore, the department has conducted a drone survey to ascertain the repairing works are needed to be done along banks of Imphal river which were damaged due to release of water from Ithai dam. Process has been initiated to request for allotment of funds regarding the repair work, he added.

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