Floating of global tender challenged in court

As the capital city's waste management crisis threatens to get out of hand in the face of the impending monsoon, the mobile-incinerator project mooted by the State government to process waste in the city has hit a roadblock.

With just a few days remaining for awarding the tender, the incinerator project has stumbled upon a legal hurdle following a petition filed by C.L. Anto, a resident of Thrissur, in the High Court of Kerala.

The court has directed the State government to present a report on the project after Mr. Anto challenged the legality of the global tender floated by the government to procure two truck-mounted incinerators.

Following this, the Small Industries Development Corporation (SIDCO) and State government have made an informal decision to go slow on the project.

Breach of procedure

Mr. Anto has claimed in the court that the State government had breached administrative procedures by inviting tenders for the project in February 2012, when service providers for mobile-incinerator and other waste management schemes had already been shortlisted by the Suchitwa Mission in December 2011 and later notified by the government.

He claims that the proposals submitted by him, under the aegis of the National Energy and Waste Management Cooperative Society, were approved by the government-appointed technical committee and the society was subsequently shortlisted by the Suchitwa Mission.

“But instead of awarding the project to us, they bypassed the list and called fresh tenders for the mobile-incinerator project, which is a violation,” he told The Hindu on Sunday.

Preliminary screening

However, the Suchitwa Mission maintains that there has been no violation as 12 service providers were shortlisted by the mission as part of the Request For Qualification (RFQ) process under which companies are invited and evaluated on their technical competence before taking part in the bidding process.

“This is a standard bidding procedure when we go for tendering of technology-oriented projects. RFQ is only a preliminary screening and companies that get through this screening are invited for the tender. Mr. Anto's society did pass the screening, but when we asked him to take part in the bidding he refused saying that the project should be awarded to him as he was qualified,” a government official said.

“Besides, the tender for the mobile-incinerator project was floated by Small Industries Development Corporation. It was an altogether different initiative to come up with a technology to meet the exigency situation in Thiruvananthapuram,” he said.

The official added that as per the court directive a report on the status of the mobile-incinerator project would be submitted to the government pleader on Monday.

Writ plea

Meanwhile, Mr. Anto has filed a separate writ petition against the State government for copyright violation, claiming that the Public-Private Partnership mode projects for garbage management being mooted by the government are actually his brainchild.

Two incinerators

It has been proposed to procure two mobile incinerators to facilitate processing of waste in the capital city.

As many as four companies, including two European firms , had participated in the technical bid and all four had qualified.