Home Economy Dhaka poll panel cancels tenders awarded to Indian firms

Dhaka poll panel cancels tenders awarded to Indian firms


Dhaka : Two Indian suppliers of laptops and other IT hardware have knocked each other out of Bangladesh’s Election Commission equipment selection procedure, raising prospects that polls in the country may be delayed.

A government panel Tuesday cancelled the selection of M/s. Telecommunications Consultants India Limited (TCIL), a company that was ready to sign a contract with the Election Commission to supply 8,000 laptops to list voters.

The action came after a consortium of Thakral Brothers Pvt Ltd and Thakral Information Systems Pvt. Ltd raised objections to the procedure followed in tendering. The Indian consortium was left out too.

The government panel has asked the Election Commission to invite fresh tenders for the job after it found anomalies in the previous bidding process.

The entire purchase and supply was to be completed by next month-end. A re-tendering could delay the programme for the elections that are to be held in end-2008, The Daily Star said Wednesday.

The Election Commission might find itself “in a dilemma” as it will have to re-invite tenders for the laptops, more than two months after the original invitation. It had not taken this delay into account while announcing the election roadmap, the newspaper said.

The poll panel is scheduled to complete updating voters’ lists and issuing photo identity cards by next August. After that, it is supposed to print and distribute the finalised voter list over September and October before holding polls in December 2008.

Bangladesh called off its ninth general election amidst political turmoil this January.

The Election Commission Secretariat had on July 7 invited tenders for supplying 8,000 laptops, 8,000 webcams, 8,000 fingerprint scanners, 8,000 Bangla keyboards and three-button mice, 550 desktop computers with UPS and monochrome laser printers, 3,000 portable electricity generators, 90 desktop computers with UPS, and 64 colour laser printers.

The cost has been estimated at Taka 450 million ($7.5 million).

The Indians had been short-listed from among the 30 competitors. TCIL was “about to get” the order when the Thakral-led consortium lodged a protest.