Judicial panel in Andhra to preview infra projects

Amaravati, July 26 (IANS) The Andhra Pradesh Assembly on Friday passed a bill to set up a mechanism for judicial preview of all infrastructure projects valued Rs 100 crore and above before inviting tenders.
The Andhra Pradesh Infrastructure (Transparency through Judicial Preview) Bill 2019, passed with a voice vote, is aimed at bringing transparency into big-ticket deals.
Intervening during the discussion on the bill, Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy said that this is a beginning for the transparency in governance and it will erase the image of corruption the state had acquired by the misdeeds of the previous government.
He said this was the first time in the country that such a measure was taken to uproot corruption and bring in transparency in the process of tenders and allotting government works.
According to its provisions, a sitting or retired high court judge will head the commission, which will review all projects including Public Private Partnership (PPP) projects of the value of Rs 100 crore and above to ensure conformity in procedure rules and guidelines.
Jagan Mohan Reddy said that the government was determined to create world-class infrastructure in an efficient manner while following the principles of equal opportunity, cost and quality consciousness. This would ensure optimum utilization of public resources in public interest, use of efficient methodologies such as reverse tendering, he said.
According to the statement of objects and reasons tabled with the bill, the government endeavors to fast track infrastructure development with transparency.
The government will submit all documents related to the project to the commission, which will place the tender related documents in public domain for a week and invite suggestions.
After preview and discussions, the judge may suggest modifications which will be binding on the government.
The bill provides for making necessary staff and relevant experts available to the commission to discharge its functions. Technical or other committees may also be constituted to assist the judge.
The entire process takes a fortnight and this is the transparency in governance which we have promised to the people, Jagan Reddy said.
Industries and Commerce Minister, Mekapati Gowtham Reddy, said that the bill would enable bringing in transparency by putting big ticket infrastructure works above Rs 100 crore under public and judicial scrutiny and taking the suggestions before finalizing the contract.
Finance Minister Buggana Rajendernath said that the bill was necessary as the previous government institutionalized corruption, mostly in the capital area region, by adopting arbitrary methods in the bidding process and allotting a select few companies the works with terms heavily loaded in the foreign companies’ favor. The state has reduced the capital formation activity into a real estate venture selling plots, he said.

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