LAHORE – Beyond his powers, a chief engineer of the Traffic Engineering and Planning Agency, gave approval for modification in proposed estimate of a project of installation of traffic signals allegedly for obliging a blue-eyed firm, which exposed the ‘corruption’ in the department, insiders informed TheNation.

They said in fact the provincial government was posting junior officers on senior posts, which was resulting in promoting corruption culture in the department.

“Such unchecked practice is not only exposing the role and performance of the government departments but also is causing huge monetary loss to the national exchequer,” they added.

The data provided by the insiders revealed that a tender for the installation of traffic controllers, UPS, poles and traffic lights at Mehmood Chowk Johar Town, Kalma Chowk Flyover and different intersections of provincial capital was invited by the concerned authorities on January 13. They further said the subject matter of such tender revealed estimated expenditures required for the completion of the project are over Rs 6.5 million.

“When the authorities concerned opened tenders on January 23, the report prepared for the tenders disclosed that all the firms violated the relevant rules while submitting their bids,” they disclosed. They said TEPA received minimum bid rates offered by a firm ‘Tollink Pakistan’ of about 13.22 per cent extra of the rate prescribed in the subject matter of the tenders.

They, elaborating the already placed laws in Lahore Development Authority and TEPA, told this scribe that the TEPA authorities were not authorised to give approval of such rates as bids offered by any participant company or firm more than of 4.5 per cent on the amount prescribed in the tenders.

“As per rules and regulations, the firm offering extra amount in the bid must be sought undertaking with issuing them warning to follow the rules before starting work on the project in one case or the action must be taken and let the matter be preceded by seizing the surety amount of these firms in other case,” sources further added.

Sources said the work at the site of project was already completed when the tenders were invited by the department, which was just fulfilling the legal requirements.

They said the TEPA authorities started file work again on the said project without seizing surety amount and initiating any action against a blue-eyed firm in order to provide it shelter while the officials increased the proposed estimated amount from Rs 6.5 million to Rs 7.1 million. “And for giving it legal status, they also are going to re-invite tenders for such proposed project and the new tenders are likely to be invited on March 30,” sources added.

The TEPA insiders said invitation of tender after completion of work on the project was in violation of Punjab Procurement Rules 2009.

Moreover, the step taken by Deputy Director Saleem Iqbal regarding disclosing the real market price of the lights was talk of the town and he also provided details to the authorities of Planning and Development Wing of TEPA which exposed the corruption of the said officials.

Due to his bold step, the expenditures of the project decreased from Rs 7.2 million to Rs 6.5 million and the higher authorities issued technical sanction. But as a result of exposing the black sheep in the department, Iqbal was being transferred and the tenders were being invited after his transfer.