Govt tendering favours outside contractors in Projects, Works: FCIK

Federation Chambers of Industries Kashmir (FCIK) on Monday said that state government is inviting tenders on different projects and works in such a manner that for the majority of works only outside state contractors qualify.
It said the promises made by the J&K Government regarding the price and purchase preference in the state industrial policy are flouted by the government itself by ‘deliberately’ issuing contracts on turnkey basis putting local manufactures and industrialists to disadvantage.
“On one hand the state government by virtue of industrial policies reserves 20 percent of purchases to be made by all the central and state government, semi government, PSUs and 100 percent of the identified locally manufactured items from the MSME of the state but on the other hand are inviting tenders for different projects and works on turnkey basis,” said president of the FCIK, Mohammad Ashraf Mir.
Mir was speaking in a meeting of FCIK administrative council held to deliberate upon various issues facing the MSME sector of the state, where the council jointly agreed on these points, according to a FCIK statement.
“The projects and tenders are floated in such a manner where only civil contractors qualify for bidding and that too mainly outside contractors,” he added.
He said these contractors then purchase the material from outside the state leaving the local industry high and dry. The local entrepreneur invests in the geographically disadvantageous state only considering the price, purchase preference and other incentives promised by virtue of industrial policies in force, he added.
General Secretary of the FCIK, Nasir Bukhari said in case of turnkey projects for buildings, bridges and power infrastructure upgradation projects almost entire requisite material like roof trusses, girder bridges, joinery, furniture, transformers, cables, HT/LT conductor, poles etc. are purchased from outside the state despite the fact that all these items are being locally manufactured and were earlier supplied by these MSME through J&K SICOP and P&MM wing of PDD.
Previously, the local industrial and government infra structure, he said, was jointly utilised for smooth and timely execution of projects. “By the inception of turnkey contracts the project execution is delayed extraordinarily causing huge losses to the state exchequer and defeating the basic purpose of these projects,” Bukhari said.
The power infrastructure upgradation projects in the state that were allotted to EMC and IRCON are far from completion and extension after extension is given to them.
“FCIK contests that these projects won’t be completed as the price escalation of the materials involved due to delay in execution has rendered them unprofitable for the executing agencies,” Bukhari said.
These schemes and projects are basically conceived for the development of the state and to improve the living standards of general public and the delay in execution defeats the purpose.
“FCIK has apprehensions that this may be a deliberate attempt to victimise the people and industry of the state,” reads the statement.
In order to execute these and the forthcoming projects in a time bound manner it’s imperative on the government to utilize the local available industrial infrastructure, it said.
In case of turnkey projects which have been allotted earlier 90 percent of the materials required are locally manufactured and the involvement of 10 percent civil works only debars the local MSME from bidding, it said.
“The culture of turnkey projects is becoming an impediment in the industrialization of state which is struggling to overcome the impact of GST rollout that has exposed the local MSME to ruthless competition of big and geographically advantageous players,” said Mir, reminding the government that it was the local MSMEs and the local startups that came to the rescue of state government during the devastating floods of 2014 and the difficult times prior to that.
FCIK said if the government was not in positions to full fill the promises made to the MSMEs and startups of the state it should withdraw these commitments in the industrial policy and “save the youth from being misled to setup industrial units thus fall in debt trap and face the humiliation at the hands of financial institution”.