Ruchika M Khanna
Chandigarh, January 27
A private firm (Origo Commodities) hired by previous governments to preserve and secure foodgrain stocks reportedly got undue extensions for years even after expiration of its first contract. Later, when Origo was awarded the contract for a second time, it was paid crores of rupees more than other firms.
While other firms got the contract for preservation and security of wheat stock at Rs 18.10 per metric tonnes, Origo was paid Rs 27.50 per metric tonnes. As a result, the Food and Supply Department ended up paying Rs 32 crore per annum more.
AAP Govt Terminates contract
We have asked our staff to take control of all the godowns and foodgrain stocks, maintained by Origo Commodities by January 28. Staff of private firm has left the foodgrain unattended. —Rahul Bhandari, Principal Secretary, Food & Supplies Dept
Rahul Bhandari, Principal Secretary, Food and Supplies Department, said, “We have asked our staff to take control of all the godowns and foodgrain stocks, maintained by Origo Commodities by January 28. The staff of private firm has left the stock unattended.” He added that the actual stock in godowns was less than mentioned by Origo. He said they had already floated fresh tenders.
“Technical bids are being examined. Till then, our staff will be maintaining the stocks,” he added.
Origo was awarded the contract during the Akali-BJP government and the contract ended in 2016. However, from 2016-2019, the term was extended and no fresh bids were called, allegedly on the pretext that lakhs of tonnes of foodgrain would be mismanaged during the switch. In 2019, the tender for 42 lakh metric tonnes of foodgrain was called.
Documents available with The Tribune show that some owners of godowns built under Private Entrepreneurs Guarantee Scheme got the contract for 13 lakh metric tonnes for Rs 18.10 per metric tonne. Initially, Origo was also awarded the contract at the same rate.
“However, when the tender was refloated for 30 lakh metric tonnes of foodgrain, Origo and its sister-concern was re-hired for Rs 27.50 per metric tonnes,” said a senior official.
Notably, the documents show that two firms which cleared the technical bid stage had Origo as its parent company.
“As per guidelines of the Central Vigilance Commission, these bids should have been rejected. However, the contract was awarded for three years. Even now, Origo made all efforts to get the contract extended, but the government decided to end the pact,” said a senior official.
Meanwhile, a senior official of Origo on condition of anonymity said, “Our contract ended on December 31 last. Though there was a clause to extend the contract, we didn’t seek any extension. No government favoured us and we bagged the contract in 2019 through a tender. There is no shortfall in foodgrain stocks managed by us.”
Most Read In 24 Hours
Don't MissView All
Action taken under relevant Section of Unlawful Activities (...
Canada shared evidence of 'credible allegations' on Nijjar's killing with India weeks ago, says Justin Trudeau
Says wants it to commit constructively to establish facts
US urges India to cooperate in probe after Trudeau says shared evidence of Nijjar killing with India
Blinken says it is ‘important for India to work with the Can...
Punjab Finance Minister says will withdraw plea from SC if Governor ensures release of pending RDF by Centre
Harpal Cheema responds to Governor Banwarilal Purohit’s lett...
Pawar and Adani first inaugurated a factory at a village in ...