Lahore - The Pakistan Railways is violating the prescribed rules in award of a ‘crane handling contract’ at its Mughalpura, Lahore Dry Port, favouring its blue-eyed and influential company, causing millions of rupees loss to the department, it is learnt.

According to sources, the Pakistan Railways is presently facing deficit of over Rs37 billion annually and its minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed has repeatedly been claiming to overcome its deficit within a year but unfortunately its top officials are not ready to support the commitment of the minister. The officials have damaged the PR earnings by millions of rupees by refusing award contract to the highest bidder in crane handling contract at one of its major dry port in Lahore.

The highest bidder, Waleed Associates Managing Partner Sheharyar Ali, in a letter written simultaneously to Railways Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed and the Secretary Railways, a copy which is also available with The Nation, has conveyed its serious concern over the malafide practice in tender procedure of crane handling at Lahore Dry Port by the top brass of the Railways. He requested that to realise the PTI dream of Naya Pakistan a strict action be taken against all those involved in serious irregularities which has caused financial loss to the national exchequer.

Referring to the Letter No 29-DP/C.H.C-LDP/HQ/PT-V/20I8, dated 12-10-2018 sent to the CEO Pakistan Railways, he asked the minister to conduct an impartial inquiry into this matter so that all the facts can be brought to the light and those involved in malpractices can be exposed.

According to details, the tender was advertised in the newspapers, and Waleed Associates also participated in it.

The company GM stated that in response to the prequalification/tender we submitted our technical and financial bid on 24-09-2018. Our firm “Waleed Associates” was declared technically qualified vide Letter No 29 DP/C.H.C-LDP/HQ/PT-V-2018 dated 12-10-2018 and the financial bid opening date was set as16-10-2018.

The Deputy Chief Traffic Manager Dry ports Farooq Iqbal Malik in his official letter intimated that Waleed Associates has been rendered successful in technical evaluation of tender documents submitted for the contract.

The financial bid was opened on 16-10-2018 in presence of second company M/s Premier Mercantile Services (Pvt) Ltd.

As per the results the Waleed Associates offered 53.5 percent profit share to the Pakistan Railways against the benchmark of 50 percent while the M/s Premier Mercantile Services (Pvt) Ltd offered just 36 percent profit share to the PR, lower than the benchmark fixed by the department. In view of the results Waleed Associates was declared as winner for the contract.

The second bidder M/s Premier Mercantile Services, which has been running the same project for the last more than 10 years, was now out of the race.

“After we had been declared winners the employee of M/s Premier Mercantile Services (Pvt) Ltd. Mr. Naseer Ahmad Alvi, who is actually ex-General Manager of Pakistan Railways, started approaching railways to stop the award of this contract to our firm by using unfair means and pressure despite the fact that his company was the lowest bidder. The same person approached us on tender submission date for a compromise but we refused to surrender,” observed Waleed Associates MD Sheharyar Ali.

He said that since the opening of the financial bid on l6th October 2018, M/s Premier Mercantile Services (Pvt) Ltd is continuing to work at the Dry Port with old contracted rates. Mr. Naseer Ahniiad Alvi (Ex-GM Pakistan Railways) and M/s Premier Mercantile Services (Pvt) Ltd in connivance with the department have used unfair means and underhand tactics to stop the award of the contract to the highest bidding company.

He said that his company is still waiting for the award contract as the highest bidder while M/s Premier Mercantile Services (Pvt) Ltd continued to work at rates much lower than those offered by us.

Under the influence of second bidding company the department has now cancelled the previous bidding and announced to conduct the fresh auction which is totally illegal, as the retendering process is started if no company achieves the bench mark rates.

Sheharyar Ali observed that in current situation it is not only that we are being deprived of our right for this contract but Pakistan Railways and the National exchequer are also suffering a significant financial loss due to the unfair means and underhand tactics being used by Mr. Naseer Ahmad Alvi (Ex G.M Pakistan Railways) and M/s Premier Mercantile Services (Pvt) Ltd in connivance with the department.

The Waleed Associates MD requested the minister that in the light of factual position he should save the Pakistan Railways from financial loss being caused by mala fide practice and intentions. He added that this matter needs to be investigated thoroughly and all relevant facts should be brought to light.

He said that his company is still hopeful that a letter of acceptance will be issued to us in the light of results of the tender which his company submitted and was declared as winner.

He said that we have already invested a huge amount in procurement of equipment and allied facilities as the winner of the tender.

The Nation contacted the Pakistan Railways PR Department Director, but she was not available to provide her point of view in this regard.