The Public Works Department (PWD) will shortly introduce the e-tendering system as part of the State government's efforts to improve efficiency, eradicate corruption and ensure transparency in road and building works, Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac said here on Monday.

Addressing a press conference in his capacity as Minister in charge of Public Works, Dr. Isaac said the system would be introduced with the help of the National Informatics Centre initially. He said he would encourage the general public to involve in the process of monitoring the public works sector.

He said henceforth ‘tender excess' would not be permitted under any circumstances. The PWD had revised its rates for works and the prevailing rates were 25 per cent more than last year's. In the event of contractors quoting rates in excess of the estimates, the department should immediately go for re-tender. The officer concerned would be answerable and would have to furnish sufficient justification to the government for any deviation in the rates in excess of five per cent of the estimates paid to the contractors, he said.

“The era of tender excess is over. The new PWD manual is being revised and will come into effect before August 15. Corruption in public works had been revolving round the practice of allowing tender excess,” Dr. Isaac said.

He said he had instructed PWD engineers to get ready the estimates for all roads requiring monsoon maintenance within one week. The department had been asked to issue short tenders for all such works immediately and finish the work before the middle of August. Each assistant engineer would receive an imprest of Rs.50,000 for use in the event of emergency situations in his/her area of jurisdiction. Roads in the State were being categorised according to their present condition (very bad, bad, fair, good and very good) and the government expected all the roads to be made very good by January/February, 2011, Dr. Isaac said.

He said a comprehensive overhaul of the department and its functioning was his target. The practice of ‘bidding' for posts having lucrative possibilities too was now over. Transfers and postings would be on the basis of clear norms, he said.

Keywords: corruptionPWD