The Coimbatore Corporation is set to introduce online auctioning of some public utilities such as parking lots, toilets and select markets to lessees in order to ensure total transparency in the system of leasing out these areas.
The civic body's latest venture comes at a time when the State Government has taken note of the unauthorised presence of persons other than bidders or their authorised representatives at the auction centres.
A week ago, an auction was put off by the Corporation after some councillors refused to leave the auction hall, insisting that they had the right to be present as elected representatives of the civic body.
Following this, the Government has issued through the Directorate of Municipal Administration a circular that prohibits the presence of persons other than the bidders/ lessees or their authorised representatives.
In a recent circular to Corporations and Municipalities, Director of Municipal Administration P. Senthilkumar has pointed out that interference by some elected representatives of local bodies has led to the postponing of auctions in many areas.
While the new circular will help in keeping these people off the conventional auctions, the e-auction system will eliminate monopoly and cartelisation also, apart from the interference by unauthorised persons, official sources in the Corporation say.
Coimbatore Corporation is the first civic body to introduce this system.
It is on the lines of the auction conducted online by the Tea Board, a high-level official further said.
Lessees who participate in the auction will be given a user identity and password to access the auction page of the Corporation's website.
They will first be given training in accessing the site and participating online.
In a clear departure from the existing system of holding the auction in a hall, the lessees can participate in the Coimbatore Corporation's auction sitting anywhere in the world, the sources say.
The names of the bidders will not appear on the screen. Only the amount quoted by them will appear.
The Corporation will not reveal the identity of the bidders till the auction is over and the contract fixed.
The software for the e-auction has been developed by the Bannari Amman Institute of Technology, according to the sources.
In the beginning, lessees will also be permitted to submit the hard copy of bids and solvency details and the demand draft for bid amounttill they familiarise themselves with the online system.
But, this will only in addition to the online participation and not as an option.
At a later stage, the Corporation may extend the online payment facility also, which will obviate the need to submit physically a demand draft.
The immediate benefit of the measure is, undoubtedly, transparency, the sources point out.
Auctions can be held without any form of influence from any section robbing it off the much required transparency, they say.