International transport expert points out flaws, demands fresh EOI in establishing Automated Testing Centres by Uttarakhand Government



Dehradun : Dr. Kamal Soi, Chairman , Rahat, The Safe Community Foundation and also a Member of National Road Safety Council, Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, Government of India at present and an Internationally acclaimed expert on Road Safety, Infrastructure Management and Mobility Planning, has demanded the cancellation or modification of EOI issued for the setting up of Automated Testing Centres for conducting motor vehicle fitness testing in Dehradun and Udham Singh Nagar, Uttarakhand.

In a representation to the Chief Minister of Uttarakhand, Pushkar Singh Dhami and other senior government officials, Dr. Soi has pointed to serious flaws in the EOI (No. 4428/ Planning/13-113(1)/ 2021) issued by the Office of the Transport Commissioner, Uttarakhand on 14-12-2021.

Dr. Soi noted that the said EOI sought applications from interested parties/applicants by 31-12-2021, thereby giving time of only 15 days to apply. Such a short span of time period is in violation of CVC and GFR tendering norms andwill seriously prejudice the prospective parties, since it is a complex project having statutory obligations which requires time to analyse and plan, and by this suitable and technically sound parties will be denied opportunity to apply for it, he pointed out in a letter to the Chief Minister, Uttarakhand Government.

“The EOI needs to be cancelled so that, a fair chance is given to the parties seeking to apply to obviate any possibility of discrimination, arbitrariness and favouritism which are totally opposed to a fair governance. No reason is given in the EOI/invitation for application as to why this process is hurriedly notified and also in a time when State Assembly Election is on the anvil and the Election Code of Conduct can be declared in the Stateat any moment. All this only creates suspicion of possible favouritism to a particular party,” Dr Soi said.

In his representation to the Government of Uttarakhand, Dr. Soi observed that the EOI mentioned that interested bidders should be owner of the land for the centre or it should have been taken land on lease/rent for 10 years as on the date of publication of the EOI/invitation for application. Dr.Soi termed thus as a cumbersome requirement, one that is impractical, as there are chances that experienced parties will be ousted from the opportunity to set up a state-of-the-art Automated Test Centres fully complying with Motor Vehicles Rules, as it is impossible for any interested or experienced party to have land on ownership basis or on rent/lease before release of the said EOI.

A doctorate in Transportation Management and Road Safety, Dr. Soi referred to the requirement of six-month experience of bidders having run Automated Test Centres, raising serious doubts if the conditions was tailor made to suit some specific party, since such requirements were not required as per Government of India’s notification dated 23rd September, 2021.

A former Vice Chairman – PSRC, Department of Transport, Government of Punjab, Dr. Soi also explained that Uttarakhand Government’s EOI was not in conformance and compliance with a Government of India gazette notification of 23.9.2021 in GSR 652(E), where a detailed procedure explaining infrastructure and manpower requirement, testing process and procedure, audit and assessment etc. has been laid out in detail to ensure that the purposes of vehicle fitness are complied with in due public interest.

“Any departure from procedure laid by Government of India, will have a serious bearing on the safety of road user and will be also unfair to prospective parties who are interested in applying for setting up Automated Testing Centres. This only goes on to demonstrate that this EOI/Invitation has been drafted in a manner to favour some party,” Dr. Soi said.

The National Road Safety Council, Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, Government of India member also observed that the Government of Uttarakhand’sEOI did not provide any provision for a pre-bid meeting thus violating Central Vigilance Commission(CVC) guidelines.

Pre-bid opportunities are necessary for clarifying issues and clearing doubts, about the specifications and other allied technical details of the plant, equipment and machinery etc. required for the Project.

“The absence of such a meeting raises doubts of the EOI being drafted to suit a specific party. Besides, essential details of the project which is required to be informed by the State Government so that, prospective bidders can do its working and analysis before submitting its response to the said EOI is missing and thus discriminate the parties and also frustrate the object of vehicle testing regime,” Dr. Soi said.

Calling for the immediate cancelation of the said EOI and issue a fresh process for establishing Automated Testing Centres, Dr. Soi said that in the absence of any favourable action there will be loss to State Government in terms of revenue as no role of the State Government for establishing these Centres as well as Testing Fee has been mentioned in the current EOI.

Also, the requirement of exact number of Test Lanes to be established, Vehicle Population category wise, actual number of centres required at these two locations, land required to be established at these proposed Centres etc. has not been provided.

“The land required for establishing Automated Testing Centres should be Industrial land and it should not be agricultural or residential land,” Dr. Soi said in his letter to the Chief Minister.

Dr. Soi holdsa doctorate in Transportation Management and Road Safety as well as a postgraduate degree in Road Safety and Infrastructure Management and Mobility Planning, Road Safety from Delhi University of Technology and Road Safety and Accident Prevention from the University of Hasselt, Belgium. He can be directly contacted for comments and clarifications on 09815033333 or 07863900003