Amid internet gag, Govt invites e-tenders; contractors smell rat

Suhail Bhat

Srinagar, Oct 9: Even as the internet remained suspended for more than two months, the Government has invited e-tenders for different developmental works in the State with the contractors smelling rat in the entire process.
For the last two months, the communication lines including mobile phones and internet, both broadband and mobile internet, in the Valley remained snapped due to which the people are facing hardships.
Despite the snapping of the internet services the administration has been inviting e-tenders for different construction and renovation works in the Valley and contractors accuse the administration of foul play. “What is the purpose of issuing the e-tenders when internet services are suspended? How can we deposit tenders? The whole thing is being done to favor people who are close to the administration,” a contractor told Excelsior.
To mitigate the crisis, the administration has provided internet facilities for the contractors at the concerned Deputy Commissioner’s offices across the Valley but the contractors alleged that facilities are insufficient and lacked privacy. “The process of tending demand secrecy as number of contractors compete for the tenders”, Arif Ahmad, another contractor said.
He added that the administration has dedicated one computer for the process at district offices which is open to everyone thereby compromising the privacy. “There are high chances that information that we fill in these tenders including the rates gets leaked and that can cost us the contract,” he said, adding that process of tendering is time consuming and a single computer cannot cater for all the contractors.
While some contractors are waiting for the restoration of the internet services others move out of the Valley to deposit their tenders. “Some of the contractors either visit Delhi or some other States to cast their tenders as they are left with no other option. The Government should either provide a full fledged facility where the process if done with the utmost secrecy or stop inviting tenders,” Shabir Ahmad, another contractor said.
Pertinently, the departments which issue the tenders also rely on these facilities for uploading the information.