Published On : Thu, Feb 27th, 2020

‘Bargaining’ for purchase of 40 new e-buses at final stage in NMC

Nagpur: Playing ‘Tender Game’ is nothing new in cash-strapped Nagpur Municipal Corporation. It is age-old dubious practice in the civic body. Now, same is being witnessed during the tendering process for purchase of 40 new electric buses.

The Central Government during the last year’s budget had approved purchase of over 5000 electric buses for reducing air pollution in big cities including Nagpur. Following the decision, a move to purchase 100 electric buses for NMC was initiated by Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari. A grant of around Rs 40 lakh per bus is being provided. However, unable to deal with its present financial crisis, the BJP-ruled NMC decided to lose 60 electric buses being sponsored by the Central Government. Now, the civic body will procure only 40 electric buses.

This careless approach of the Transport Department of Nagpur Muncipal Corporation may cost the department a loss of subsidy worth corers. Niti Aayog had indicated that it would grant subsidy of 40% on purchase of environment friendly electric buses. The officials failed to submit the tender for the purchase of these environment friendly electric buses. The files were suposed to be submited before December 15 to avail the subsidy on purchase of buses. But as the NMC has shown interest to purchase only 40 electric buses, the civic body administration has sought more time from Ministry of Heavy Industries for accruing subsidy benefit. Accepting the request of NMC, the Ministry has given 15 days more time whose deadline would end on February 29, 2020.

In the meantime, NMC’s Transport Department has floated a global tender for purchase of electric buses. Hyderabad-based Olectra Greentech Ltd has shown interest in the NMC’s tender. According to terms and conditions of the tender, NMC will not incur a single rupee of expenditure.

All the expenses will have to be borne by the bus providing company. The tendering company has demanded the NMC to pay the company Rs 72.99 per bus per kilometre as soon as the buses are added to the fleet of NMC. Subsequently, the NMC administration on Wednesday invited the tenderer for discussing ‘settlement.’ The Deputy Municipal Commissioner Rajesh Mohite held discussion with Olectra representative Anand Swarup. Following a lengthy discussion, the tenderer finally quoted the rate Rs 71.28 per bus per kilometre. This rate is correct and feasible as compared to other cities.

In the later development, the Olectra representative Anand Swarup met Municipal Commissioner Tukaram Mundhe and discussed some points with him. Mundhe, according to sources, assured Swarup of final decision after studying the proposal. But the Municipal Commissioner will have to arrive at a final decision before February 29 if the NMC has to gain benefit of Central Government’s subsidy grant in the purchase of electric buses.