The phrase ‘reverse tendering’ is has almost become a buzz word in Andhra Pradesh in the past 4-5 months after the YSR Congress came to power.

Many, including some ministers in the YSR Congress Government, use it as a synonym for ‘re-tendering’ which it is not.

What is reverse auction

In reverse auction, the lowest bidder gets the contract/job in contrast to the ordinary auction where the highest bidder gets it.

In this context, an interesting exchange has taken place this week between the present Irrigation Minister Anil Kumar Yadav and the former minister D Umamaheswara Rao over reverse tendering in irrigation and other projects.

The latter accused the YSR Congress government of turning the reverse tendering process into some thing akin to a ‘reality show’ on the television where everything is pre-determined and fixed, but the actors pretend to be acting naturally or spontaneously for the entertainment of the audience.

“The tender is fixed beforehand and only those friendly to the ruling dispensation get the contract. For instance, the State Government has called for reverse tenders in the Polavaram project and only one company, Megha Engineering, has put up a bid and the government has decided to give it to the company,” he alleged.

Polavaram project

It may be noted that the State government revoked the sub-contract given to the Navayuga Engineering Company in the irrigation component of the mega Polavaram irrigation project on the Godavari, and called for fresh tenders or reverse tenders, to be more precise.

Only one company, Megha Engineering, participated in it. Navayuga, which lost the contract, moved the AP High Court and the petition is not yet disposed of.

Rebutting the allegations, Anil Kumar Yadav said, “It may be very amusing to Umamaheswara Rao like a reality show. But the people of the State are not amused. They are now realising to what depths the Telugu Desam leaders have sunk. In irrigation department alone, we have saved ₹1,000 crore and according to my calculations we can save up to ₹5,000 crore in all government departments, if it is extended to all departments. The sum can be used for the various welfare schemes we have introduced. During the TDP regime, the leaders of the ruling party and their contractor friends would have coolly pocketed the amount.”

Citing an example, he said that Max Infra offered to execute a package in the Polavaram project at 15 per cent less rates in contrast to the 4.60 per cent excess it had quoted during the TDP regime.