EXCLUSIVE: Transport Ministry Contravenes Good Governance: Plans To Buy Rail Coaches Without Proper Process

The Transport Ministry has planned to procure 160 passenger coaches for the Sri Lanka Railways under the Indian Line of Credit offered by the Exim Bank of India, without following the due tender process, Asian Mirror reliably learns.

It is learned that the procurement notice has not been gazetted and has not been published in newspapers in Sri Lanka and in India.

Since the procurement is to be carried out under the Indian Line of Credit, the coaches have to be brought from Indian manufacturers. Some manufacturers, anticipating the impending tender announcement, have informed the Sri Lankan government of their willingness to take part in the bidding. These manufacturers include a company attached to the Defence Ministry of India.

However, these manufacturers are left in the darkness as their has been no announcement made on the gazette or the newspapers.

Meanwhile, it has come to light that the Indian High Commission has requested the Sri Lankan government to buy the coaches from a certain supplier attached to the government of India.

This violates the possibility of competitive bidding, something that the Sri Lankan Prime Minister, the Finance Minister and other officials have insisting on. It is also the policy of the Exim Bank, India, that competitive bidding is mandatory for Indian Line of Credits.

Since this procurement is to be made on a loan, which the Sri Lankan government will have to pay back, the government should have the possibility of buying the best product at a lesser price. However, this possibility is in doubt due to the failure of the government to announce the tender.

Meanwhile, the closing date for the bidding, which was to be May 10, has been extended until May 18.

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