August 22, 2023
Coimbatore, August 22: The Madras High Court has directed the State Highways Authorities of Coimbatore Circle to issue machinery certificates to Coimbatore contractors, facilitating their participation in tenders. In a recent development, the Madras High Court has issued a directive in response to a series of writ petitions which filed by contractors of Coimbatore Corporation contractors (CCCA) Welfare Association.
The tenders floated by the State Highways Department, characterized by a pre-fixed nature that seems to benefit specific contractors, have compelled members of the CCCA contractors Welfare Association to submit writ petitions to the High Court. The objective behind these petitions is to thwart the practice of pre-fixing tenders.
The case revolves around the requirement for “current Plants and Machineries certificates” for tender participation, as outlined in tender documents for multiple projects. The petitioner sought a writ of mandamus from the court, urging the State Highways Authorities, including the Superintending Engineer of Highways, C&M, Coimbatore Circle, and the Divisional Engineer of Highways, Quality Control Division, Coimbatore, to either provide the necessary certificates or accept previously issued certificates.
The petitioners, who are Class-I contractors registered under the respective respondents, had been awarded contracts by the authorities and were engaged in ongoing works related to widening, strengthening, improvements to riding quality, and other infrastructural projects within the Coimbatore Circle.
The High court considered that the petitioners intended to participate in a series of tender notifications between July 19, 2023, and July 31, 2023. These notifications required the submission of bids through an online system and mandated the possession of current plant and machinery certificates from the State Highway authorities. The court emphasized the need for transparency in tender floating and prompt compliance with the requirements.
In light of these facts, Honourable Justice G.K. Ilanthiraiyan directed the petitioners to furnish the complete details of the tenders, including dates and locations, along with the request for Plant Calibration Certificates to the authorities. Once received, the Divisional Engineer of Highways, Quality Control Division, Coimbatore was instructed to issue plants and machineries certificates to the petitioners before 11:00 a.m. on August 23, 2023, enabling them to fulfill the tender submission process by the 3:00 p.m. deadline on the same day. The case is scheduled to be revisited on August 24, 2023, for a status update on compliance.
Contractors based in Coimbatore have urged the State Highways Department to ensure proper adherence to regulations in the forthcoming tenders. Coimbatore contractors have indicated that in case officials of the State Highways Department violated the tender regulations, they are prepared to file a lawsuit once more, seeking a court-order to re-evaluation of the awarded tenders.