House panel suspects foul play in embossed plate procurementThe Parliamentary Committee on Development has suspected foul play in procurement process of embossed vehicle registration number plates, as the contract for supplying the plates was not handed over to the company that had quoted the lowest amount during bidding.
The Parliamentary Committee on Development has suspected foul play in procurement process of embossed vehicle registration number plates, as the contract for supplying the plates was not handed over to the company that had quoted the lowest amount during bidding.
In this regard, the parliamentary committee on Wednesday sought written clarification from the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport (MoPIT), and Department of Transport Management (DoTM) within a week.
The ministry launched the embossed registration number plates two weeks ago to replace the hand-painted vehicle licence plates. The embossed plates have been installed in government vehicles in the first phase. As of now, the ministry has installed microchip-embedded embossed number plates in 12 government vehicles. The government agencies have targeted to install embossed number plates in 500,000 automobiles in the next five years.
The parliamentary committee called a meeting on Wednesday amidst complaints that the installation charge of the number plates was too high.
As per the DoTM, the owners of heavy four-wheelers need to spend Rs3,600 to fetch the number plates. Similarly, car owners can purchase these license plates for Rs3,200, while owners of auto rickshaw and other three-wheelers will have to pay Rs2,900 to get the embossed number plates. The department has fixed a fee of Rs2,500 for a two-wheeler to get the number plate.
The lawmakers at the parliamentary committee meeting said the prices of embossed plates could have been too high because of possible corruption while handing over the contract.
The MoPIT had awarded the contract of imprinting the number plates to Decatour Tiger Co-operation, a Bangladesh-US joint venture. According to the parliamentary committee, the joint venture secured the contract for $40.5 million. This was the second lowest price. Of the four companies that took part in the procurement process, the lowest price that was quoted was $29 million.
Parliamentary Committee on Development Chairman Rabindra Adhikari said the committee suspected foul play in the procurement process. “We have asked the authorities to submit clarification as per the provision in the Public Procurement Act and related regulation,” Adhikari said.
The lawmakers also objected to the government decision to impose exorbitant price on sales of embossed plates. The parliamentary committee has directed the authorities to revise the price. To ensure quality service, the parliamentary committee has also directed authorities to build well-equipped data centre and control room, and make use of satellite connection.
Committee issues directive to govt
The Parliamentary Committee on Development on Wednesday directed the government to issue embossed vehicle registration number plates based on codes of seven provinces. At present, the Department of Transport Management (DoTM) has been distributing embossed number plates using zonal codes.