DCC misses out on Tk 23 lakh a month
Dhaka City Corporation (DCC) has been losing about Tk 23 lakh a month in revenue for the last eight months, due to cancellation of two rounds of biddings for leasing out the managements of three inter-city bus terminals in the capital.
DCC already incurred a loss of about Tk 1.84 crore in the last eight months.
There are allegations that DCC Mayor Sadeq Hossain Khoka was personally involved in cancelling the two rounds of tenders, even after final selections of lessees in both rounds, because his preferred people could not participate in the biddings due to either being in jail or for being on the lam to avoid the ongoing anti-corruption and anti-crime dragnet.
Meanwhile, DCC is gearing up to invite tenders again to lease out the three terminals' managements while for the last eight months a transportation company Hanif Paribaban, and two other individuals, one of whose name is Shah Alam, have been managing those.
There are allegations that the temporary lessees are also close to the DCC mayor, and the basis of leasing out the managements of the terminals to them was based on nothing but nepotism, and 'personal interest' of the mayor.
Official complaints containing the allegations were already submitted, by the highest bidders in the now cancelled biddings, to the unit of the Task Force for Combating Grievous Crimes and Corruption assigned to investigate graft in DCC.
In both cancelled biddings same companies were the highest bidders.
The highest bidder for Gabtoli terminal, Messrs Habib Brothers, filed a writ petition with the High Court (HC) last month challenging the DCC's effort to invite new tenders stating that the company was unjustly deprived of the contract.
The court also ordered DCC to stop the process of inviting new tenders in this connection and issued a notice to the corporation ordering it to explain why Messrs Habib Brothers, should not be awarded the management lease for Gabtoli terminal.
Meanwhile on Thursday, the highest bidder for Mohakhali terminal, Messrs Salvo Trading, also sent a legal notice to DCC.
Talking to The Daily Star the highest bidders of the cancelled two biddings held Mayor Sadeq Hossain Khoka directly responsible for bumping them off the job, alleging that the mayor did it for 'personal interests' as 'his men could not contest in the bids, because they are either in jail or in hiding'.
The mayor, however, denied the allegation saying, "The highest bidders are not being awarded the leases due to some disputes between DCC and the bidders over some conditions of the contracts. The officials concerned will be able to give more details."
"We have taken some measures to bring down the losses and to increase income," the mayor added.
But, when contacted by The Daily Star the officials concerned declined to comment on the matter.
Since the lease contract of the immediate past lessees expired on October 1, 2007, rents from transportation companies using the terminals have been collected by Hanif Paribahan and the two other individuals, to whom temporary leases were awarded verbally, said the mayor.
DCC invited the first round of tenders on July 7, 2007 getting response from 22 bidders.
The city corporation selected Messrs Habib Enterprise as the highest bidder for Gabtoli terminal, which offered to pay the corporation Tk 1,10,411 a day, amounting to
Tk 4,03,00,000 annually including taxes.
Messrs Niaz Traders was selected for Saydabad terminal in exchange for a daily payment of Tk 1,21,530, amounting to yearly revenue earning of Tk 4,43,62,100 for the corporation.
Messrs Salvo Trading was selected for Mohakhali terminal in exchange for a daily payment of Tk 37,515, amounting to yearly payment of Tk 1,36,92,971.
The immediate past lessee of Gabtoli terminal used to pay Tk 1,36,68,000 annually, while Saidabad and Mohakhali used to bring in annual revenue of Tk 1,42,82,400 and
Tk 46,38,725 respectively.
According to DCC sources, the highest bidders of the cancelled biddings, agreed to pay a total of Tk 9,83,55,071 annually for the three terminals, which was three times higher than what DCC used to earn from the immediate past leases, which was Tk 3,25,89,125 annually.
The mayor cancelled the first round of biddings after selection of the highest bidders, issuing a second round of invitation for tenders on January 10 this year, in which the same aggrieved three companies were again selected as the highest bidders.
But, the mayor yet again decided to cancel the bidding and initiated a process of a third round of invitation for tenders, while for the interim period gave verbal authorisation to lease out the terminals temporarily to Hanif Paribahan, Shah Alam, and another individual.
The DCC sources said the mayor allowed leasing out Gabtoli terminal to Hanif Paribahan for a daily payment of Tk 76,280, Mohakhali terminal to Shah Alam for a daily payment of Tk 32,855, and Saydabad terminal to the other individual for a daily payment of
But the bidders, whose bids were cancelled even after being selected as the highest bidders, had offered to pay Tk 1,10,411 a day for Gabtoli, Tk 1,21,530 a day for Saydabad, and Tk 27,515 a day for Mohakhali terminals.
DCC is currently losing Tk 75,945 a day and Tk 22,78,350 a month compared to the offers of the rejected bidders.
In addition, Hanif Paribahan and the other two current lessees are carrying out their operations depending solely on over 60 DCC employees, without hiring any worker on their own while draining manpower of the city corporation. The salary of the 60 DCC workers is also borne by the corporation, for which the lessees do not even compensate it.
According to DCC policies the lessees are supposed to hire their own work force, and bear the cost for it too.
Talking to The Daily Star, Habibur Rahman, the owner of Messrs Habib Brothers, said, "We fulfilled all formalities and met all conditions, but still the mayor cancelled the tender as his own people could not bid in it."
Mizanur Rahman, owner of Messrs Salvo Trading, said, "I sent a legal notice to the DCC regarding the matter. If DCC doesn't respond appropriately, we will file a case against the mayor and the corporation."
The mayor said, "DCC's legal department is working on the writ filed with the High Court."
When contacted, Mohammad Enamul Huq, DCC general manager (transport), who is also a member of the tender committee, said, "I am in DCC on deputation and responsible for overseeing regular deposit of the rents in banks. It would not be appropriate for me to comment on issues regarding the tender process."
He, however, advised The Daily Star to talk to Superintendent Engineer Kudrat Ullah, who also declined to comment when approached.