The Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) which is already embroiled in issues regarding procuring wet lease buses is facing another problem. The Governor of Maharashtra has forwarded a letter to the Lokayukta on May 21 based on an allegation made by BJP, regarding malpractices in the on-going e-ticketing tender of MSRTC.
BJP leader Mihir Kotecha has alleged Shiv Sena leader-cum state transport Minister Anil Parab of committing a Rs 250 crore scam. Parab also heads the MSRTC. The state-run transport corporation had to renew its contract for e-ticketing machines (ETIM). “They had to identify new contractor by June,” said Mihir Kotecha, BJP MLA. The BJP claims that it has been approved overnight for the benefit of a Gujarat-based contractor without following due process. In July, last year, MSRTC officials and Minister Anil Parab, had a meeting where they decided to call for tenders. Finally, in January, this year, a Gujarat-based company approached the minister’s office and they discussed the renewal of the contract.
In a letter written to Governor Bhagat Singh Koshiyari on May 5, Kotecha claimed that major changes in qualification and technical criteria were made. “Later, urgent board meeting was called to obtain post-facto sanction for changes made in tender document,” states the letter. The letter also mentions 15 points that highlights the alleged steps that led to malpractice.
In February, Kotecha alleged that there was a meeting and that there were few changes made in the contract. “To benefit the contractor, the contract condition was amended and the participating company’s annual turnover was reduced from Rs 150 crore to Rs 100 crore. They also decreased the need to handle the number of ETIMs,” added Kotecha. They also changed the process from lowest bidder to quality and cost-based system.
There are over 38,000 ETIMs with MSRTC that they have been running since 2008. Of the total ticket sales, 95 per cent of sales are from ETIMs, 4.9 per cent from online reservation and 0.1 percent is from mobile ticketing. The MSRTC is already struggling to convince its unions as the administration plans to get 500 non-AC buses on wet lease. The MSRTC has around 16500 buses in their fleet of which they own around 12000 buses in the fleet.