For once, cutting across party lines, councillors raised objections to the garbage tenders that were floated on Tuesday by the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP).
The BBMP’s special council meeting was called on Friday to discuss the civic body’s draft solid waste management bylaws. However, the councillors were busy objecting to the garbage tenders being floated. They all sought to know why it was not tabled before the BBMP council first.
Even Ruling Party Leader N. Nagaraju feigned ignorance and claimed that he was kept in the dark. Demanding that the garbage tenders be called ward-wise instead of packages, he also stressed on incorporating changes in the tender conditions.
“As per the tender that has been floated, only class one contractors can participate. Why should the BBMP look for experience for someone who is literally going to sweep roads? The , such as submitting solvency certificate of Rs. 50 lakh, need to be relaxed so that new contractors can participate,” he said.
M.K. Gunashekar, Opposition Leader, stated that the BBMP council discussing the garbage bylaws when the tenders were already floated was akin to having the engagement after the wedding. Mincing no words, he said that the BJP (ruling party in the council) had “murdered democracy” by not tabling the tenders before the council first.
Subhashnagar councillor T. Mallesh charged that the BBMP had violated the Karnataka Transparency in Public Procurement Act. He alleged that some BBMP officials were hand in glove with the garbage mafia. Yeshwantpur councillor Munirathna demanded to know why the previous tenders were cancelled and new ones were floated. Though Mayor D. Venkatesh Murthy assured him of a response from Commissioner Rajneesh Goel, Mr. Munirathna stormed the well and staged a dharna. Only after Mr. Murthy asked the council staff to escort him out of the council hall, did he resume his seat.
‘Not enough time’
Yediyur councillor N.R. Ramesh said that the Bangalore Metropolitan Task Force, in its report, had recommended that some contractors be blacklisted.
“Since the tender was floated on Tuesday night, there are only two days available for people to participate. The new contractors will not have enough time to get solvency certificate and other documents required in this short while. Since the old garbage contractors will have it ready, only they will be able to participate,” he opined.
Mr. Goel pointed out that the High Court, in its interim order in a Public Interest Litigation petition, had directed the BBMP to make segregation of waste at source mandatory.
He added that for effective solid waste management in the city, he wrote to the State government seeking permission to float new tenders. “After the Government okayed it, the short-term tenders were uploaded on the e-procurement portal.”
Stating that the tender conditions had been modified, he said that solvency had been reduced to 10 per cent of the total contract, while EMD (earnest money deposit) was reduced to one per cent of the total contract value for those belonging to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.
“However, the old tenders did not have any provision for segregation of waste. Also, following the court’s direction, we issued public notices making segregation mandatory from October 1,” he said.