Substandard elevators: NAB to initiate inquiry into metro bus project

Published: October 24, 2014
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Decision was taken on a complaint over manipulation of tendering process. PHOTO: NAB

Decision was taken on a complaint over manipulation of tendering process. PHOTO: NAB

ISLAMABAD: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) will initiate an inquiry into the procurement of elevators and escalators for the under-construction Rawalpindi-Islamabad Metro Bus Project.

The decision was taken after NAB Chairman Qamar Zaman Chaudhry received a written complaint accusing the chief engineer of the Rawalpindi Development Authority and other junior officers of manipulating the tendering process of procurement of elevators for the project, a NAB official said.

A copy of the same complaint has also been addressed to the Supreme Court’s chief justice requesting him to take action against the said officials.

It has been alleged that officials manipulated the tendering process and approved procurement of inferior quality elevators at exorbitant rates in violation of Pakistan Engineering Council’s defined criteria for pre-qualification of firms for procurement.

“The chairman has directed NAB Rawalpindi to expeditiously inquire into the matter and ensure that no national funds go to waste in the project,” said a statement issued by the NAB.

Escalators and elevators would be used to facilitate passengers to enter the raised platform of the metro buses. The Punjab Metro Bus Authority, the operator of the project, is directly responsible for the procurement process.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 24th, 2014.

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Reader Comments (1)

  • Naseer
    Oct 24, 2014 - 11:45PM

    Merin Pvt Ltd has always been using underhanded and dubious business ethics inorder to win work. This includes but is not limited to, mis quoting product type or specification to come lowest in competitive bidding, supplying substandard equipment or quoting to supply from Europe but then supplying from China, making some parts locally in Karachi.

    A similar technique was used in the Lahore metro project, where during bidding they came out lowest with a bid of 920 Million PKR however after coming the lowest they claimed that they had made a mistake and misquoted the euipment. I.e. quoted AC type escalators whereas the department required VVVF type escalators (which are much more expensive, Consequently the department now could was blackmailed by Merin to increase its price to a finally 1,220 Million PKR which was the higher than the next competitors bid price.

    However this was not enough for them, even after this they supplied sub standard where they supplied a product that was not designed for metro systems and had locally amendments. Normally public transport system escalators have thick stainless steel structures beneath the handrails for extra strength. This a standard design for most big manufacturers, however the ones supplied at Lahore have a very peculiar design. The space beneath the handrail seems to have been amended locally. It seems that normal glass panels (normally supplied for low duty escalator or non public transport use) had been replaced with sandwich panels of Stainless steel. This is not a standard design nor can it be found in any catalogue of the manufacturer nor can it be found in any Public transport system in the world.

    So they not only blackmailed the department by using devious techniques in the bidding process and then subsequently increasing their bid price to become the highest, they also supplied substandard equipment while receiving payment for a top quality product.

    Now they are using the same technique in the Rawalpindi/Islamabad metro system. The have quoted a very low price, too low to be reasonable. However their technical details remain unclear as to what is being provided by them and of what quality. What should be done as per law is that all bidders should be compared on an equal technical footing and their proposals should be brought at par technically and then their financial proposals compared. it seems that Merin Pvt Lt is trying to deceive the department once again by misquoting in the financial bid. The price is too low to be taken seriously. As is the standard globally during such tenders that any bidder whose price is too low is rejected because in large tenders, where big manufacturers are participating, the difference in price is normally very marginal. So when one bidder quotes too low below the estimate, it is assumed that the quality is suffering for the low price.

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