Disclosure of tenders at the Vidarbha Irrigation Development Corporation under RTI
Documents obtained secured through RTI has revealed a very strange co-incidence in the approval of the tenders of Vidarbha Irrigation Development Corporation (VIDC). An analysis has shown that tenders for many different projects have been approved at a value which is a little below 5% of the estimated price. The estimate price is a benchmark rate which is fixed on the basis of the cost of raw materials and a reasonable margin of profit. In some cases, the markup accepted is even 4.98%, but is never above 5% of the estimated value. It has been alleged that it is a smart move to beat the system.
It has been pointed out that the Executive Director (ED) has the power to pass any tender, irrespective of cost, as long as it is not more than 5% above the estimate. Any bid which is beyond this level has to be produced before the governing body for approval. The governing body includes a secretary from the finance and planning department which increases the scrutiny level.
The VIDC has been charged with adopting a practice to keep the cost slightly below 105% of the estimate price, which makes it easy to get it passed from the ED's office. Critics have pointed that revising the estimate price in certain cases has been another way of manipulating the system.