Zojila tunnel tendering process as per procedure: Ministry

Srinagar Leh Highway open 2

New Delhi: Refuting allegations by Congress leader Digvijaya Singh, the road transport and highways ministry on Tuesday said the Zojila tunnel tendering process was as per procedure.

Digvijaya Singh on Tuesday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi requesting him to take action against Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari for his alleged role in awarding the contract of the Rs.10,050 crore Zojila Pass Tunnel project in Jammu and Kashmir.

Also Read:

He had on Monday also written to the Central Vigilance Commissioner (CVC) to apprise him of the issue. The contract was awarded to IRB Infrastructure Developers Ltd. to build southeast Asia’s longest tunnel at Zojila pass in the border state.

Rubbishing the allegations, a ministry statement said: “Reports have appeared in a section of the press alleging irregularity in the award of contract for building Zojila tunnel.

“In this regard, it is stated that the ministry of road transport and highways follows due procedure while maintaining complete transparency in the award of any contracts.”

“In the instant case also, the contract was awarded after due diligence after the bid was found technically responsive. Financial bid was opened and the quoted semi-annuity amount found in line with the approval of CCEA for award of the work,” it added.

“E-tendering process was adopted for award of Zojila Tunnel contract with the mode of BOT (Annuity) and concession period of 22 years including 7 years construction period.”

According to the ministry, the RFQ (request for quotation) was invited in April, 2013. Four agencies purchased the RFQ documents. However, only one agency submitted the RFQ document. Being single tender at RFQ (technical bid) stage, the tender process was cancelled without going to RFP (financial stage).

“Subsequently, RFQ was again invited and four agencies were technically pre-qualified to participation at RFP stage. Out of these four pre-qualified agencies, only one agency participated at RFP (financial stage). Being a single tender, the financial bid was not opened,” the official statement said.

“Based on the above experience, it was decided to adopt change in system of calling bid i.e. from two-stage (RFQ & RFP) system to single-stage (RFP) system. Accordingly, a fresh bid adopting single-stage (two cover) system for wider participation by the agencies was called,” it added.

“In response, only one bidder participated. Being a single tender under single-stage (two cover system), it was cancelled without opening the bid as per ministry’s circular. Subsequently, tender was re-invited giving the last date for submission of the bid on December 10, 2015.

“In response, only single bid was received from IRB Infrastructure Developers Ltd. The bid was opened and evaluated. Found technically responsive and its financial bid was opened and found the quoted semi-annuity amount in line with the approval of CCEA for award of the work,” the statement read.